In contrast to the postpartum blues that appear in the days following childbirth, postpartum depression occurs 2 to 4 months, or even 6 months after delivery. Unfortunately, half of the women who suffer from it do not know what to do or who to contact.
How do we recognize postpartum depression?
While the life changes brought about by the arrival of the baby can lead to moments of grief or distress, in postpartum depression, symptoms persist for more than two consecutive weeks and appear within the first year of birth. Contrary to popular belief, it also affects parents in approximately equal proportions.
Symptoms are often those of classic depression, with fatigue, loss of pleasure and motivation, guilt and helplessness, deep sadness, irritability, as well as appetite and sleep disturbances. Suicidal thoughts should not be neglected as they can be present and at risk of taking action.
What if this is you or a family member?
The earlier postpartum depression is detected, the more effective treatment will be. With a systematic interview being conducted around the fifth postpartum week from early 2022 to identify depression, the government wants to encourage early diagnosis of it. For women at higher risk, a second interview may also be offered at about the 12th week.
In case of doubt or concern, the attending physician, gynecologist or midwife is available to share the difficulties and make the diagnosis if necessary. Consultations with psychiatrists or psychologists can also be organized, including at the nearest psychiatric medical center (CMP) or in a hospital.
Find out more: “Reporting the first 1,000 days” is available at: https://solidarites-sante.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/rapport-1000-premiers-jours.pdf