Postpartum Depression Treatment Options
It is very important to know that some studies have shown that babies do not thrive as well when cared for by significantly depressed mothers. There can be problems with the mother-baby bond, the baby's early development, and the mother's emotional state.
Postpartum depression (PPD) is a common condition which may affect between 1% and 5.7% of women within the first six months after delivery. More new mothers experience postpartum or baby blues, perhaps as few as 15% or as many as 85%, depending on how it is defined. These feelings peak at day 5 and are usually gone by a week to ten days after the baby's birth. Postpartum depression is more serious and lasts much longer. It can peak at around six months.
It is often difficult for new mothers and fathers to recognize postpartum depression, and the same is true for some of the doctors that may interact with the parents and their baby.
Understanding of postpartum depression is increasing, as is appreciating how common it is. Researchers are attempting to discover what might cause a woman to suffer from PPD or what factors might put someone at greater risk. These factors may include heredity, previous problems with depression, hormonal influences, outside stress, difficult pregnancies, medical problems, and many other things.
For a woman with PPD, the choice of treatment may be difficult. There are two major ways to treat depression in general. One way is with medication; the other is with counseling of some type.
Counseling has been proven effective for PPD in some controlled trials, especially for mild to moderate symptoms. For PPD, this usually means individual sessions at least once a week for 6 to 12 weeks. Most types of counseling or psychotherapy can be costly and, therefore, not available to everyone with PPD who might benefit from them. Shorter lengths of treatment, group therapy, and treatment by non-professionals have not been proven as effective. When a woman with mild to moderate depression can get counseling, this may be the best method because it does not have side effects or any risks for the breastfeeding baby.