The earlier postnatal depression is spotted, the better for everyone. If you would like to speak about postnatal depression with an independent midwife or discuss depression and pregnancy, Simply Better Births are here for you. You can also find out more information on postnatal depression and other problems after pregnancy here.
A mother who was suffering from severe post natal depression smothered her two babies, Lily and Mason Boots, after stopping her medication because she was worried about its side effects while breast feeding, resulting in their tragic deaths. These actions were ‘truly beyond her control’ and this was even recognised in court.
Until recently it was thought that depression during and soon after pregnancy affected roughly 10 per cent of mothers. New research suggests the real figure may be as high as one in seven. In its direst form the condition can lead to infanticide. More often it leaves new mothers feeling desperate, lonely and even suicidal as well as exhausted. In every case, if left to run its course, it can seriously impair children’s development in their crucial first two years. Studies have found that doting looks help infant brains to grow, while maternal anxiety and depression can correlate with behavioural problems from infancy to adolescence.
This is why Mr Justice Fulford performed a public service at the Boots trial in recognising that women in the grip of PND needed pro-active help. For the same reason, moves to offer mothers interviews before and after they give birth to gauge their risk for PND should be welcomed as enlightened preventive healthcare, not shunned as needless intervention. Such interviews are already commonplace in the US. If introduced here they would be voluntary, and structured to encourage mothers to see the benefits of happiness in parenting rather than fear the costs of misery. Excellent counselling for struggling mothers is already available on the NHS in many areas but if it isn’t in your area or you would like extra counselling Simply Better Births are here to offer 24 hour baby advice including baby blues advice.