Postnatal Depression and Puerperal Psychosis
Approximately 1 in 7 women suffer from postnatal depression which has all the usual symptoms of major depression, along with often feeling indifference towards the baby.
The key point about postnatal depression is that it can have a much greater impact on the woman and her family than depression experienced at other times in her life.
This is because of the strain it can put on relationships and family life, the mother – infant bond and even to later child development.
Seeking early treatment for postnatal depression
It is very important to seek help as soon as possible if you feel depressed or low after having a baby.
Managing a new baby can be difficult and tiring in normal circumstances but with the added complication of depression it can truly effect how you cope.
For many women it can be very difficult to admit their 'true' feelings about how they are coping, how they are feeling and how they feel about their new born baby. They might feel worried that they will be judged or deemed not to be coping. This can prevent women from seeking postnatal depression help.
The earlier you seek help the better; without treatment postnatal depression can last for a significant time and can return with subsequent pregnancies.
With the right postnatal depression support and help you can overcome it and start enjoying your life with your new baby.
Signs and symptoms of postnatal depression
It is very common for women to experience low moods following the birth of their child. Tiredness, hormonal fluctuations and adjusting to a new family can all cause normal ‘baby blues’.
Postnatal depression may seem like the normal baby blues at first but the symptoms of insomnia, irritability, mood swings, low self-esteem, sadness and anxiety are more severe and longer lasting.
Additional symptoms include:
- Lack of energy and motivation
- Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
- Loss of pleasure
- Lack of interest or negative feelings toward the baby
- Change in appetite or weight
- Suicidal ideation
PND can start soon after childbirth but it can also occur within six months of having a baby.
Women with a history of depression are also at a higher risk of experiencing PND and stressful events during pregnancy, at the birth or in the first few months can increase the chances of suffering from PND.
Puerperal Psychosis (PP) is the most serious mood disorder following child birth but is also thankfully the rarest, occurring in about one postnatal woman in a thousand.
Mania, severe depression, persecutory beliefs about the child, delusions and confusion are prominent symptoms. Puerperal psychosis seems to be highly heritable, with 10–25% of relatives of women with puerperal psychosis having some kind of severe psychiatric disorder. Most importantly for its correct management, it also tends to recur, with a chance of about 1 in 4 in each subsequent pregnancy.
Treatment for Postnatal Depression and Puerperal Psychosis
It is important to seek professional help and post natal depression support as soon as possible as early treatment for postnatal depression can help resolve the problem.
If left untreated the symptoms can last for a significant length of time and become more severe. Treatment can include talking therapies, medication and support groups.
How can we help?
Clinical Partners have a nationwide team of psychiatrists, psychologists and psychotherapists who are experienced in the treatment of postnatal depression and puerperal psychosis.
Our qualified, friendly, clinical advisors will be able to advise you on the best course of action. Appointments with a clinician can often be available with a day or so at a location that suits you.
Call us on 0203 326 9160 in complete confidence and we can arrange for you to see a specialist in postnatal depression as soon as possible.