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Postpartum depression in the US

Is postpartum depression a common thing?

One in five American women actually suffers from postpartum depressive symptoms (PDS). This is according to a survey recently published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The survey data was collected from 2004 to 2005 in 17 states. The highest incidence of PD was found in New Mexico (20.4%) and the lowest in Maine (11.7%). Those who are most likely to report having PDS are:

  • younger women
  • women with low educational attainment
  • women who received Medicaid benefits for their delivery

Other possible risk factors associated with PDS are

  • low infant birth weight (less than 2.5 kg)
  • admission to a neonatal intensive-care unit (NICU)
  • smoking during the last 3 months of pregnancy
  • physical abuse before or during pregnancy
  • experiencing stress (i.e. emotional, financial, partner-related, or traumatic) up to 12 months before the delivery

Most common PDS are feeling down, hopelessness and having little interest of pleasure in doing things.

I definitely had PDS after I had my twins and I didn’t need any doctor or psychiatrist to tell me that I had it. I was just wasn’t my old self.

But it seems that suffering from PDS is quite common – and lasts longer – among mothers of multiples. For me, low birth weight and NICU admission were probably the key factors. Add to it sleep deprivation and the stress of taking care of 2 babies at the same.

But then I also knew when I was finally over it – more than a year after delivery. What helped me to recover was the unwavering support of my husband, family and friends, the chance of getting back to work part time, and jogging.

Anybody out there with a PD/PDS story to share?

Sources:

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 11 April 2008

Postpartum depression common among U.S. women. Reuters, 10 April 2008.


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