Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression (PPD), also called postnatal depression, is a form 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 1.2% and 25.5%. Postpartum depression occurs in women after they have carried a child, usually in the first few months, and may last up to several months or even a year. Specifically, the onset of postpartum depression begins within 4 weeks and lasting up to 6 months after giving birth. 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.

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