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Post-Partum Depression

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Postpartum Depression
Research Paper: April 27, 2010
PSY – 113 – Human Growth & Development

Postpartum Depression
Having a baby should be one of the happiest and most important events in a woman's life. However, although life with a new baby can be both thrilling and rewarding, it can also be a difficult and quite stressful task. Most women make the transition without great difficulty, yet some women experience considerable complexity that may manifest itself as a postpartum psychiatric disorder (O'Hara et al, 1995). Many physical and emotional changes can occur to a woman during the time of her pregnancy as well as following the birth of her child (Beck et al, 1998). These particular changes can leave a new mother feeling sad, anxious, afraid and confused. For many women, these feelings; which are known as baby blues, go away fairly quickly. But when they do not go away or rather they get worse, a woman may be experiencing the effects of postpartum depression (PPD). This is a serious condition that describes a range of physical and emotional changes and that requires prompt treatment from a health care provider. According to Placksin, (2000) postpartum depression occurs when women are unable to experience, express and validate their feelings and needs within supportive, accepting and non-judgmental interpersonal relationships and cultural contexts.
Postpartum psychiatric illness was initially characterized as a group of disorders specifically linked to pregnancy and childbirth and thus was considered diagnostically distinct from other types of psychiatric illness (Horowitz & Goodman et al, 2005). It has long been thought that the postpartum period is a time of increased risk for the onset of psychiatric disorders and adjustment difficulties in women (Placksin et al, 2000). The link between reproductive status and depressive illness is further evidenced by the high frequency of depression during the premenstrual phase, and the immediate postpartum...

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