Depression is a condition that affects the way people think and act. Research shows that around 6% of women suffer from depression at some point in their lives. This figure is even larger in pregnant women, where research says 10% of pregnant women suffer depression at some stages of their pregnancy.
Women are at greater risk of depression during pregnancy and a few weeks after delivery. During pregnancy, a woman’s body produces many hormones that cause anxiety and depression and affects the brain. Some depression levels in pregnant women may go unnoticed as many always think they are symptoms of the pregnancy.
Research has indicated that children raised by depressed mothers may end up having similar issues in their lives. Research says that these kids are likely to act out and have healthcare problems.
There are three categories of postpartum depression. These are
- Baby blues
- Nonpsychotic postpartum depression
- Postpartum psychosis
Baby blues are always caused by a temporary and harmless condition like hormonal changes and affect close to 50% of new mothers. Symptoms of baby blues include loss of appetite, confusion, fatigue, crying spell, nervousness, sadness, and feeling overwhelmed.
A mother’s depression can make her worries about her child come true. This is because infants are very sensitive to their mother’s silence, sadness, and inattentiveness. In the long run, a mother’s depression may affect the development of the child. In general, children of depressed parents are more likely to suffer depression. Children of mothers with postpartum depression find it hard to adjust in the long-run.
Depression during pregnancy may lead to depression, preterm or delivering before due date, and giving birth to a low-weight baby. Depressed mothers have problems with caring for their children. In addition, depression affects attachment, which is very important to the development of the child. Attachment is the strong bond between the child and the caregiver. A secure attachment comes naturally through things like feeding, diaper change, and cuddling, among others. Good attachment helps protect against stress and helps in the long term development of the child’s emotional health.