Postnatal Depression and Baby Massage
Postnatal depression can affect one in ten women after the birth of their child. The arrival of a new born baby should be a happy occasion but for women suffering from depression it can be a stressful lonely period. I intend to briefly explain some of the causes, symptoms and treatment methods. Most importantly, is there any evidence to suggest that baby massage classes can help mums on the road to recovery.
There are three recognised mood disorders in the postpartum period.
At one end of the spectrum is ‘baby blues’, affecting about 80 per cent of new mothers, almost expected by all mothers. It usually occurs ...view middle of the document...
• Irritability – snapping at her partner or children.
• Anxiety – feeling panicky without cause.
• Fear of being alone – feeling something will go wrong with the baby if she is left alone or inability to cope.
• Loss of concentration or memory – can’t concentrate on simple tasks, organising herself and family has become difficult.
• Feeling guilty or Inadequate
• Loss of confidence and self-esteem – she may be worrying about going back to work and no longer sure if she can do the job.
• Postnatal depression occurs in all cultures and all socio-economic classes, and can happen to child-bearing women of all ages.
• Postnatal depression has been around for a long time.
• Mild, moderate, or severe symptoms can begin during pregnancy (antenatal depression), suddenly after birth, or gradually in the weeks or months following delivery. Symptoms can emerge at any time during the first year after birth, but most cases have their onset within the first 4 months.
• Postnatal depression can happen after miscarriage, stillbirth, normal delivery, or Caesarean delivery.
• Postnatal depression happens mostly after a first baby, but can occur after any other pregnancy.
• Postnatal depression has a 50 per cent chance of recurrence with a subsequent pregnancy. If a woman becomes pregnant again before recovering from postnatal depression, the condition will continue through the pregnancy and may worsen.
What causes depression?
There a three area to look at when looking for the cause which is biological, social and psychological.
• Genetic predisposition to depression.
• Sudden changes in pregnancy hormones following delivery (There is a decrease in progesterone and estrogens immediately after the birth).
• The mother is not getting enough nutrition and sleep deprivation.
• Difficult or complicated pregnancy or childbirth experiences.
• A history of pre-menstrual tension.
• Previous experience of postnatal depression, or family/personal history of other mental health conditions.
• Breastfeeding difficulties.
• Infertility and use of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) for conception.
• A difficult or traumatic birth (including unexpected interventions, e.g. emergency Caesarean section).
• A traumatic or abusive childhood (particularly sexual abuse).
• Unrealistic expectations of motherhood and of herself.
• Certain personality types (perfectionist or controlling).
• Limited social and emotional skills (difficulties in effectively communicating).
• Problematic or unresolved relationship issues with own mother.
• Past unresolved issues of grief and loss such as previous miscarriage.
• Lack of family and community support.
• Difficult relationship with partner — removed emotionally, works long hours or travels.
• Intrusive or difficult family relationships.