Postnatal depression: How to identify it effectively

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Studies show that 8 per cent of new mothers in Singapore develop post natal depression and medical practitioners suspect many do not get diagnosed and treated.

Studies show that eight per cent of new mothers in Singapore develop postnatal depression (PND) and medical practitioners suspect many do not get diagnosed and treated.

Sometimes, the PND goes away when issues are resolved. But for about 30 per cent of sufferers who go untreated, the condition can last a year or longer.

RELATED: Postnatal blues

Postnatal depression: Symptoms

Typical symptoms of postnatal depression include low mood (depression), loss of interest, feeling guilty for no good reason, poor sleep and appetite, negative feelings towards the baby and bodily symptoms such as aches.

According to Kandang Kerbau Hospital Singapore, the symptoms usually start soon after childbirth, but are often unnoticeable until two to three months after delivery. The symptoms may vary a lot.

As mentioned in our previous article, the signs and symptoms of postnatal blues could also be the following:

  • feelings of irritability
  • weepiness
  • moodiness
  • anxious thoughts about caring for the baby
  • feeling frustrated with the baby’s crying

Postnatal blues is commonly seen in first time mothers or those with poor support. As it is usually transient, most mother with the blues, don't need any specialist attention. Instead what they do need is support, encouragement and reassurance from family and friends.

Why you must seek help for postnatal depression

Untreated postnatal depression can affect the mothers ability to bond with her child, so it is important to seek help.

If you are pregnant and have had depression during your last pregnancy, do seek early advice. If the previous episode of depression was especially severe, you might want to consider taking prophylactic antidepressants as the risk of a relapse during a subsequent pregnancy is potentially 50 percent.

If you need someone to talk to call the National Pregnancy Helpline on 1800-MUM-TO-BE, the Babes Teens SMS Helpline on 8111-3535, or the Child Protection & Welfare Service at the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports on 1800-258-6378.

RELATED: Say goodbye to postnatal fat and depression

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Written by

Sandra Ong

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