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Childbirth can be one of the exciting moments for most mothers, butafter childbirth, most women suffer from a condition-Post Natal Depression- that make them either neglect or harmtheir new born babies and in extreme cases develop suicidal tendencies.

The condition commonly called “the baby blues, according medical experts isfast becoming a major health concern as most women in Ghana with little and in most cases no facilities to deal with the situation.

According to a survey conducted by Mission of Hope , a non-governmental organisation in 8  districts in BrongAhafo (Bechem district, Nkoranza North, Sunyani Municipal, Berekum Municipal and Techiman North, Attebubu, Sunyani West and Pru district) more than 50 percent of mothers were diagnosed with depression and  suicidal and tendencies.

The study which wasconducted among 341 pregnant women and mothers with children below 2 years, and of ages between 15 and 41 had 187(54.8%) diagnosed with the condition.

Out of the numbers diagnosed, 107 were immediately put on medication whiles the remaining 77 were offered various degree of counselling by Psychiatrist Specialistand Psychiatrist Nurses in the districts.

According to Dr John Paul, a Psychiatrist who diagnosed the conditions in the Districts stated that a major underlying factor for the prevalence of the condition among mothers diagnosed with the condition is poverty.

He said because most of the mothers are unable to afford medical bills, they resort to spiritualists and herbalists where their conditions worsen. 

Additionally he noted that most hospitals across the country are not well equipped to handle the condition thus leaving depressed mothers without the proper care.

He added that in hospitals were there are psychiatric nurses; they are not qualified to diagnose the condition.

According to him, it is only a psychiatrist who has the expertise to diagnose the condition and considering the fact that most hospitals across the country lack these specialised doctors further aggravates the issue.

According to medical experts, postpartum blues are very common, occurring in up to 80 percent of new mothers. The condition is characterized by mood swings, postpartum blues or “baby blues” are normal reactions that many mothers experience following childbirth. 

The situation usually occurs three to five days after delivery, and generally does not last for more than a few weeks.  However due to lack of knowledge of the situation If a person continues to experience moods swings or feelings of depression for more than two weeks after childbirth, the problem may be more serious.

Factors that contribute to Post Natal Depression

According to medical experts, the causes of Post Natal Depression are not quite clear but research suggests that Hormonal Changes, stress and situational may contribute to the onset of the condition.

Hormonal changes: after birth a woman experiences the greatest hormonal fluctuation levels after giving birth. Intense hormone fluctuations, such as decreased serotonin levels, occur after delivery and may play a role in the development of the condition.

Situational risks: Childbirth itself is a major life change and transition, and big changes can cause a great deal of stress and result in depression. If a major event coincides with childbirth, a mother may be more susceptible than average to the condition.

Life Stresses: Ongoing stressful circumstances can compound the pressures of having a new baby and may trigger the condition. For example, excessive stress at the office added to the responsibilities of being a mother can cause emotional strain that could lead to PPD. The nature of the mother’s relationship with the baby’s father and any unresolved feelings about the pregnancy might also affect a mother’s risk of getting Post Natal Depression.
Source: The Finder

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