Mia Mazzone and Alexia Macri
The event of childbirth is vastly recognized as the most beautiful testament to human life. However, postpartum issues such as depression are generally overlooked. According to the MGH Centre for women's health, 50 percent to 85 percent of new mothers will experience a somewhat brief period of sadness and anxiety, this period is known as “baby blues” or “maternity blues.” However, 10 percent to 15 percent of women will experience a vastly longer period of postpartum sadness or anxiety. Common side effects of postpartum depression include: sudden mood swings, thoughts about harming one's self or child, anxiety, and feeling disconnected from your baby or loved ones. It is important to note that all mothers are susceptible to postpartum depression; however, certain factors such as marital status, socioeconomic status, and other factors can increase the mother's chances of suffering from this disorder.
Although many social factors can contribute to postpartum depression, certain medical factors can contribute towards the development of this disorder. When someone undergoes the event of childbirth, their body releases hormones as a response to the event. The hormones can cause mood swings, thoughts of self harm, and severe sadness. Although the symptoms of depression and the symptoms of postpartum depression are very similar, they still have their differences. Certain hormones prevalent in postpartum depression include the reproductive hormones—oestradiol and progesterone. When treating patients with postpartum depression, studies have proven that treating patients with the hormone oestradiol has successfully reduced symptoms.
Prolactin is also a hormone that contributes to postpartum depression. This hormone is known as the “mothering hormone”. Low levels of this hormone can contribute to the poor adjustment of a woman to motherhood, of the baby at the time of birth, and the development of the baby. Overall there are many hormones that contribute to postpartum depression, and it is very normal in new mothers.
Depression During And After Pregnancy". Centers For Disease Control And Prevention, 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/features/maternal-depression/index.html. Health, MGH.
"Postpartum Depression: Who Is At Risk?". MGH Center For Women's Mental Health, 2021,https://womensmentalhealth.org/posts/postpartum-depression-who-is-at-risk/. "The Role Of Hormones In Childbirth". Childbirthconnection.Org, 2021, http://www.childbirthconnection.org/maternity-care/role-of-hormones/.