Lifeline Connections

Maternal Depression

Despite the prevalence of maternal depression, many women may not know how to reactwhen they are experiencing it and they may feel alone; however, maternal depression is very common. Nationally, about 1 in 9 women experience some symptoms of depression after givingbirth to their child and in some states, as many as 1 in 5 women have postpartum depression. However, it is not only women who experience this; men can also experience something similar to maternal depression. About 13% of men experience paternal depression within the first year of delivery. This percentage increases to 21% by the time the child is 12 years old.

Types of Maternal/Paternal Depression
For mothers, the length and onset of depression can differ, resulting in three subtypes. Prenatal depression occurs sometime during pregnancy. Approximately, 10-20% of mothers experience depression sometime over the 9 months they are carrying the child. Baby Blues can occur within the first few weeks but often fade before a month; the majority of mothers, 80%, report experiencing this type of depression within 2-3 weeks after having a baby. Postpartum depression is distinguishable from baby blues, because it lasts for a longer period of time, stretching on for 2 to 3 months, while baby blues occurs within the first few weeks.

Risk Factors
Mothers that have experienced maternal depression before are more likely to experience it again in their next pregnancy. Those who have  amily histories of mood disorders like depression or anxiety, or have had a history of a substance use disorder like alcohol, are more likely to develop depression or experience recurrent depressive episodes. Circumstances surrounding the child’s birth may also result in maternal  epression such as life stress, lack of support, unwanted pregnancies, or difficult deliveries.

It is important for parents to get treatment for paternal or maternal depression as it can have a negative influence on the partners’ relationship, the parent-child relationships, or the child’s development. Like many other forms of depression, there are many kinds of treatments for both women and men, who may be suffering from depression. Parents can benefit from the use of different kinds of therapy including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Support Groups, and Psychotherapy. There are also medications like SSRI’s and hormonal therapies that can be helpful alongside therapy. Finally, for those who cannot access care as easily, the use of relaxation techniques can improve prognosis and depression symptoms.

If you are struggling with depression or any kind of mental health problems, feel free to contact Lifeline Connections for help! There are many effective ways to treat mental health \issues; the sooner you reach out, the sooner you will be able to feel better. You can visit or call 360.397.8246 for more information.

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