Prevalence of Postnatal Depression
Postnatal depression (PND) can be a devastating and debilitating illness that can persist and affect not just a new mother but everyone around her. PND is not a modern condition. Each generation calls it something different. What we call PND today may have been called a 'nervous breakdown' fifty years ago.
PND can be mild, moderate or severe and symptoms can begin suddenly after birth or appear gradually in the weeks or months during the first year after birth.
PND occurs in all cultures and can happen to child bearing women of all ages. Pregnancy is the common factor. It can happen after miscarriage or stillbirth, normal or traumatic delivery, or caesarean delivery. PND happens not only after a first baby. It can occur after a third or fifth baby. Sometimes it happens after a first baby only. Sometimes it happens with a third baby, but not with the first two. Sometimes it happens after each pregnancy.
A woman who has had PND has an increased chance of recurrence with a subsequent pregnancy. If a woman becomes pregnant again before recovering from PND, the condition might continue through the pregnancy and may worsen. It is advisable for the woman to delay another pregnancy until she has recovered. It is wise to wait at least a year after discontinuing medication before falling pregnant again.
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