Post Partum Depression in India

Post Partum Depression in India

It is high time we spoke openly about a very common pregnancy related mental health disorder-Post partum depression.
Did you know that PPD affects 22% of women who have given birth in INDIA?
And its incidence is on a raise in urban population.

What exactly is PPD?

New moms experience mood changes,sadness,anxiety,crying spells in the first 2 weeks of pregnancy.
It is called post partum blues.
Sometimes,this can get stronger and may even extend upto 1 year.
Then it is called Post partum depression.(ppd)

Why does it occur?

Think is like a complication of pregnancy,which isn’t in our control,so it isn’t a character flaw rather a side effect of hormonal changes during pregnancy and post partum.

The INDIAN scenario

The incidence is more in southern states followed by eastern,western and finally northern states.
The sad part is even if 22 women out of 100 are suffering from this,very few come forward to actually seek help.
The women think of it as a social taboo.
And most of the women are made to sit at home along with the baby,this seclusion at home itself is a lot detrimental to women.
After delivery,all the focus turns towards the new born, leaving very little attention towards the mother,who needs equal love at this stage.
Most of the women don’t even go for post natal visits rather depend on the elderly lady who just keeps rambling stuff to do and not do after delivery.
The most important of all NO PRIORITY TO MOTHER’S MENTAL OR PHYSICAL HEALTH is given and it is expected that she blooms with motherhood the instant she delivers.

What can we do?

India does have a national mental health programme drafted in 1982 but it is largely deficient in maternal mental health.
There isn’t any screening method to diagnose these cases before hand.
So the burden of detecting and reaching out for help falls on us.
We need to see for the risk factors first.
All these are from the studies in Indian population. 

Financial difficulties

Lack of support from family

Domestic violence

Recent stressful event

Marital conflict

Sick/death of the baby

Lack of support from husband

Previous female child

Birth of a female baby

Low maternal education

Mother having a psychiatric illness

High parity

Unwanted pregnancy


For new moms and family-

  • If you see the following in a new mom then reach out for help
  • Depressed mood or severe mood swings
  • Excessive crying
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Loss of appetite or eating much more than usual
  • Inability to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much
  • Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy
  • Reduced interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
  • Intense irritability and anger
  • Fear that you're not a good mother
  • Hopelessness
  • Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt or inadequacy
  • Diminished ability to think clearly, concentrate or make decisions
  • Severe anxiety and panic attacks
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
  • Untreated, postpartum depression may last for many months or longer.

Postpartum psychosis

With postpartum psychosis - a rare condition that typically develops within the first week after delivery - the signs and symptoms are severe. Signs and symptoms may include:

Confusion and disorientation
Obsessive thoughts about your baby
Hallucinations and delusions
Sleep disturbances
Excessive energy and agitation
Attempts to harm yourself or your baby
Postpartum psychosis may lead to life-threatening thoughts or behaviors and requires immediate treatment.

Is there any way so that the mom can diagnose herself?

yes, there is a scoring system called Edinburgh post natal depression scale This is a direct link to check for yourself.

Any value more than 9 should be sought after for medical help.

Dear mothers,to be mothers and everyone who’s reading this.
If you went through the risk factors,most of the cases emerge from lack of support from the family,especially the husband.
I can’t stress enough how our society has made it very difficult for the mom to seek for the basic help.
Mothers are expected to be a guide book to the baby.
It is very important to remember that she’s equally as new as you to the baby,especially the first timers,although the chances of ppd are high in multi moms.
Please listen to her when she says she needs help or that she’s anxious or that she’s feeling helpless.
Don’t start with ‘that’s what happens when you are a mom,you are supposed to do this or that’
Sometimes just listening and saying ‘I care’ matters a lot.
Don’t generalise her feelings, don’t say it will just go away.
Help a new mom as much as you can.
And give her the same attention you gave when she was pregnant.
Most of the new moms seek extra love from their husbands.
I wrote this blog when a few moms posted that ‘PPD is a myth’ and ‘what are the values that we are going to set to the coming generation’

Why are we obsessed about the next generation when we aren’t able to properly support the present one?

Stop making it a social stigma. STOP JUDGING OTHERS!!!
Seeking for medical help is the basic right for every human being and mental health no matter how much you ignore, it needs special attention.

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