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Mind matters: Developing skills and knowledge in postnatal depression

02 February 2015
9 min read
Volume 23 · Issue 2

Abstract

Depression is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide and is the highest cause of disease burden for women. Postnatal depression affects up to 25% of all childbearing women; however, its prevalence is often under-detected and under-diagnosed. Early screening and early intervention are integral in the prevention of postnatal depression. Preventive interventions focus on the efficacy of omega-3 supplements, physical activity and placentophagy practices. However, there is promising evidence regarding the efficacy of antidepressant therapy, increased social support, and technological-based psychological interventions in the prevention of postnatal depression.

Depression is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide and is the highest cause of disease burden in women (Dennis and Dowswell, 2013). Postnatal depression has been defined by Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) as a major depressive condition that occurs in the 1-year period following childbirth, and is the most common condition affecting women during the perinatal period (Brealey et al, 2010). It is estimated that postnatal depression affects up to 25% of all childbearing women; however, its prevalence is often under-detected and under-diagnosed (Joseph, 2014). Postnatal depression is most prevalent within the first 3 months postpartum; with a peak onset at 4–6 weeks (Brealey et al, 2010). It is a significant public health concern as it is associated with impairment of the parental care of the child and is associated with long-term adverse effects on the child's growth and development (World Health Organization (WHO), 2012). Due to the impact that postnatal depression has on women, their children and their families, early screening, detection and intervention for all childbearing women is essential. There is evidence to promote the use of preventative interventions to reduce the onset of postnatal depression and the subsequent adverse effects associated with the condition.

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