Postnatal Depression (PND) is what happens when you become depressed after having a baby. There may be an obvious reason, but often there is none. It can be particularly distressing when you have looked forward to having your baby through the months of pregnancy. You may feel guilty for feeling like this, or even feel that you can’t cope with being a mother. It can last for weeks or several months.
How common is Postnatal Depression?
Around 1 in every 10 women has PND after having a baby. Without treatment it can last for months, or rarely years.
When does PND happen?
Most cases of PND start within a month of giving birth, but it can start up to six months later.Slowly developing postnatal depression can take two forms. One type occurs when a patch of postnatal ‘blues’ which started soon after the baby’s birth becomes worse and more distressing as time passes. The second type develops more slowly and is not noticeable until several weeks after the birth of the baby.
What causes PND?
We don’t know enough to be sure who will or won’t get it. There is probably no single reason, but a number of different stresses may add up to cause it. You are more likely to have PND if you:
- have had depression (especially PND) before
- do not have a supportive partner
- have a premature or sick baby
- lost your own mother when you were a child
- have had several recent life stresses – bereavement, unemployment, housing or money problems
Even so, PND can start for no obvious reason, without any of these stresses. And having these problems does not mean that you will definitely have PND.
Getting Help With Postnatal Depression
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a very helpful form of therapy to hasten a recovery from depression. It can help you to see how some of your ways of thinking and behaving may be making you depressed – and help you to change them. CBT has been shown to be at least as effective as anti-depressant medication, but to be better than medication in the preventing of relapse and recurrence of illness. CBT has the added advantage that it teaches the mother coping skills which may be of use after she has recovered. Cognitive therapy helps mothers change many of the negative feelings that they may have towards themselves and others.
Other psychotherapies can help you to understand the depression in terms of your relationships or what has happened to you in the past.
We provide individual counselling, CBT and psychotherapy for women suffering with the effects of postnatal depression, in the South Birmingham, Worcestershire, Alvechurch, Barnt Green, Bromsgrove and Redditch areas.