Postpartum depression (PPD) is a major depressive episode following childbirth that can have serious consequences affecting the family. Consequences range from marital problems and issues with child development to maternal suicide and infantcide. Depression in mothers can lead to cognitive and social impairment in the child as well as paternal postpartum depression in the father. Due to the severity of these problems, it is important to diagnose and treat mothers as soon as possible. There are several symptoms that are evident in mothers suffering from PPD that lead to diagnosis. Symptoms are similar to those of major depressive episodes, but they occur 24 hours to several months postpartum. Treatment options for PPD include psychotherapy as well as tricyclic antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. While these medications have been shown to be the most effective pharmacological options, more research needs to be conducted to establish their effects on the infants. The possibility of preventative therapy also needs to be addressed to minimize the long-term effects of the disorder.
Drake SE, Huet AL, Peterman TM, Drees JL, Raiff RD. The Importance of Early Diagnosis and Treatment of Postpartum Depression. PAW Review. 2010 Nov 01; 1(2):Article 8 19-21 . Available from: https://digitalcommons.onu.edu/paw_review/vol1/iss2/8. Free full text article.