The first year after childbirth presents a high risk of depression for women, with about 13 percent of all mothers experiencing postpartum depression, with debilitating symptoms similar to clinical depression. Postpartum depression may affect the mother’s abilities and skills to engage in delicate interaction with the child, and thus impair the development of an attachment relationship – possibly affecting the child’s later development and well-being. A new study has warned that women, who return to work sooner than six months after giving birth, are at greater risk of developing postpartum depression than those who take longer maternity leaves. The risk of postpartum depression is highest after the first child’s birth.
Postpartum depression was diagnosed in 5.3 per cent of women with a history of depression, while approximately a third of women experiencing postpartum depression had no history of depression. What begins as insecurity, usually within 30 days of the baby’s birth, rapidly expands to other symptoms that typically include sadness or anxiousness through the day that often worsens in the evening; crying spells; low self-esteem; lethargy and sleeplessness. The milder version is called postpartum blues, where the mother’s feeling of being overwhelmed, low and having difficulty sleeping resolves on its own within a month.