Postpartum Blues

Postpartum depression (PPD), also called postnatal depression, is a type of clinical depression which can affect women, and less frequently men, typically after childbirth. Studies report prevalence rates among women from 5% to 25%, but methodological differences among the studies make the actual prevalence rate unclear. Among men, in particular, new fathers, the incidence of postpartum depression has been estimated to be between 1% and 25.5%. Symptoms include sadness, fatigue, changes in sleeping and eating patterns, reduced libido, crying episodes, anxiety, and irritability. Although a number of risk factors have been identified, the causes of PPD are not well understood. Many women recover with a treatment consisting of a support group or counseling.

The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, a standardized self-reported questionnaire, may be used to identify women who have postpartum depression. If the new mother scores 13 or more, she is likely to be suffering from PPD and further assessment should follow.

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