Postnatal Depression: Cause and symptoms

People associate the arrival of a new baby as a joyour affair, but for some mothers it can be the start of Postnatal Depression.

Many women will experience different feelings after their child is born. They will be tired, exhausted, worried and sad at times, this is not helped by the changes in hormone levels in the mothers body after giving birth. This is usually put down to ‘Baby Blues’. The ‘baby blues comes on 2-4 days after delivery and is so common it is regarded as normal. It also clears up quickly.

Women with postnatal depression (1 in 6) are more vulnerable and sensitive than other women. Their illness is not easily recognisable and often women don’t want to admit that they are depressed.

What are the symptoms of Postnatal Depression?
The symptoms of PND are often difficult to recognise and many women often try to hide them. They can be broken into two main categories

1. Emotional Symptoms

  • Denial  
  • Mood Swings  
  • Rejection of partner  
  • Rejection of baby  
  • Anxiety  
  • Anger  
  • Loss of interest in sex  
  • Panic attacks  
  • Despondancy - A feeling that there is no hope anymore.  
  • Feeling inadequate - A feeling that you can’t cope.  
  • Guilt for not loving the baby enough.  
  • Obsessive fears, thoughts about death.

2. Physical Symptoms

  • Disturbed sleep  
  • Nausea  
  • Tearfulness  
  • Lack of energy  
  • Headaches, blurred vision  
  • Chest and/or stomach pains  
  • Lack of concentration  
  • Can’t make decisions  
  • Appetite changes

Provided by ArmMed Media
Revision date: June 20, 2011
Last revised: by Amalia K. Gagarina, M.S., R.D.