Dr. Maymunah, please help my wife. Help save my wife and my baby too. My wife is going through a lot of emotional meltdown and I can’t help her. She just had our third baby four weeks ago and since then she hasn’t been the woman I knew. The truth is she went through this type of experience after the birth of the other two babies, but it wasn’t this bad. She is even trying to harm the baby these days and this makes me worry a lot. I want to take the children away from her.
Doctor is that okay? Please, what is she going through and can you educate me more on the signs?
What your wife went through in the past two pregnancies was “Baby blues” and this is a very common condition among women after giving birth. Sad feelings, however, may be the result of hormonal changes or changes in lifestyle and sleeping habits. These feelings usually last for a few days to a few weeks, and almost always go away on their own.
But, what if the blues aren’t going away now in this third pregnancy? Then she may be one of the 10 per cent of women who experience postpartum depression. This is what she is going through right now.
Who is at risk?
Women of all ages, economic status and racial/ethnic backgrounds can be affected by postpartum depression. It can occur a few days or even months after childbirth and can last for a year or longer, if untreated. It can happen after the birth of any child, not just your first child.
What are the signs?
• Feeling restless or irritable.
• Feeling sad, depressed or crying a lot.
• Having no energy.
• Having headaches, chest pains, heart palpitations (the heart beating fast and feeling like it is skipping beats), numbness, or hyperventilation (fast and shallow breathing).
• Not being able to sleep or being very tired, or both.
• Not being able to eat, and weight loss.
• Overeating, and weight gain.
• Trouble focusing, remembering, or making decisions.
• Being overly worried about the baby.
• Not having an interest in the baby.
• Feeling worthless and guilty.
• Being afraid of hurting the baby or yourself.
• No interest or pleasure in activities, including sex.
Maternal mental health problems pose a huge human, social and economic burden to women, their infants, their families, and society and constitute a major public health challenge. Although the overall prevalence of mental disorders is similar in men and women, women’s mental health requires special considerations in view of women’s greater likelihood of suffering from depression and anxiety disorders and the impact of mental health problems on childbearing and childrearing, too.