Postpartum depression rates in America proved higher than expected

Much more American women wake up with postnatal depression (also called postpartum depression) than it was previously thought, according to a new study.

Postpartum depression is a form of clinical depression which can affect women, and less frequently men, after childbirth. Studies report prevalence rates among women from 5% to 25%, but methodological differences among the studies make the actual prevalence rate unclear.

Symptoms of PPD can occur anytime in the first year postpartum. They are the following:

- Sadness

- Hopelessness

- Low self-esteem

- Guilt

- Sleep disturbances

- Eating disturbances

- Inability to be comforted

- Exhaustion

- Emptiness

- Inability to enjoy things one previously enjoyed

- Social withdrawal

- Low energy

- Becoming easily frustrated

- Feeling inadequate in taking care of the baby (or feeling like one cannot take care of the baby)

52,000 mothers took part in the study. They were offered to answer 2 questions:

1.) Since your new baby was born, how often have you felt down, depressed, or hopeless?

2.) Since your new baby was born, how often have you had little interest or little pleasure in doing things?

The answers - “always” or “often” - revealed that those women had postpartum depressive symptoms.

The majority of postpartum depressive cases was based on a number of factors, such as: age, education (less than 12 years), smoking, physical abuse before or during pregnancy and hard financial stress during pregnancy.