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Postnatal Depression (PND)

How PND Affects Mothers

While it is more likely for PND symptoms to emerge within the first 6 months after giving birth, they can occur any time within the first year and beyond. Furthermore, much research evidence is showing that the onset of PND can begin during pregnancy (known as Antenatal Depression) and can carry over after the birth, exacerbated by the stress of caring for Baby (and other children). Factors that can contribute to mothers being vulnerable to PND include:

  • Prenatal anxiety
  • Illness during pregnancy
  • Lack of social support
  • Marital/relationship difficulties
  • Stress of caring for Baby
  • Lack of sleep
  • Prior miscarriage or stillbirth
  • Traumatic birth
  • Previous mental health history
  • Stressful life events (during childhood, adolescence or as an adult).

Importantly, if you are unsure of your feelings that are causing panic and anxiety let others know ... for your own sake, for your partner and for your baby's wellbeing. Seek help from a doctor or other health professionals who can provide a correct diagnosis ... AND ... who can show an understanding of your needs, be a good listener and who you feel a 'connection' with. The sooner you are diagnosed the sooner you are likely to recover. Social support from trustworthy family and friends (discussed in Parenting: From the Beginning) may also be helpful to you during this time. Depending on their understanding of your needs they can listen to you, break the isolation, interact with the baby when you need a rest or perhaps babysit for a couple of hours here and there ... all of which can relieve you of the constancy of being a mum.

Below are websites of organisations specialising in antenatal and postnatal depression, anxiety and other mental health concerns:

In the UK, The Royal College of Psychiatry provides information and support at:

The international non-profit organisation Postpartum Support International provides support contacts for parents in most countries around the world: