Depression following childbirth is very common

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GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – Having a baby is a major life event and can cause worry, tiredness and sadness. Usually these feelings don’t last long, but if they persist you may be suffering from depression.

On April 7, World Health Day (WHD), the topic of depression will be observed around the world.  Various awareness campaigns will take place around the globe. The 2017 theme is: ‘Depression: let’s talk.’

Depression following childbirth is very common. It affects 1 in 6 women who have given birth. Depression is an illness characterized by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in activities that you normally enjoy, accompanied by an inability to carry out daily activities, for at least two weeks.

In addition, people with depression normally have several of the following: a loss of energy; a change in appetite; sleeping more or less; anxiety; reduced concentration; indecisiveness; restlessness; feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or hopelessness; and thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

Symptoms of depression after childbirth also include: a feeling of being overwhelmed; persistent crying for no apparent reason; lack of bonding with your baby; and doubt about being able to care for yourself and your baby.

Depression after childbirth can be treated with professional help. Talking treatments and medicines can help. Some medicines can be taken safely while breastfeeding.

Without treatment, depression following childbirth can last for months or even years. It can affect your health and the development of your baby.

Every year Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department within the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA), as part of its annual calendar of observances, highlights and creates awareness about health matters based on the World Health Organization annual calendar.  CPS would like to draw the community’s attention to WHD 2017 and the theme that has been chosen as part of its contribution to creating awareness.

Discuss your feelings with people close to you and ask them for support. They might be able to help you look after the baby when you need some time to yourself or to rest.

Stay connected by spending time with family and friends; get out in the open air when you can. In safe environments, taking your baby for a walk is good for both of you; talk with other mothers who may have advice or be able to share experiences.

Talk to your health-care provider. He or she can help you find the treatment that is most appropriate to your situation; if you have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, seek help immediately. Remember: Depression after childbirth is very common. If you think you may be affected, seek help.

For more information, you can call CPS at 542-3003 or 542-2078.