Postnatal depression is a fairly normal problem, affecting nearly 2 of every 10 new mothers within one year of giving birth. However, this condition can affect the spouse and newborn as well. If new mothers feel that they might become depressed, or they have a history of depression, it’s a good idea to find help immediately.
With that being said, it’s important for new mums to know just how much their condition could affect their newborn baby. To help with that, we are going to take a look at some of the ways postnatal depression can affect new babies. Let’s get started:
How Postnatal Depression Can Affect New Babies
Behavioural Development – With postnatal depression, mums often show less responsiveness and attentiveness to the needs of their newborns. When mothers are depressed, they may set strict expectations or limits for their children. This will cause newborns to develop into individuals who are more passively noncompliant. They may also have less mature expressions compared to their peers. They are rated as being more negative when responding to any friendly approach. As toddlers, these children will engage less in low-level physical interactions, and they will do more individual activity, instead of group play.
Cognitive Development – Studies on the cognitive development of infants and toddlers with mothers who had had postnatal depression indicate reduced motor and mental development. There’s a significant difference compared to children with parents who had no depression symptoms. By using Bayley scales of mental development, it appears that boys of mothers with postpartum depression are more easily affected.
Emotional Development – Children with mothers affected by postnatal depression show negative responses and they are less sociable to strangers. These children may show more separation difficulties, temper tantrums and eating problems. Taken all these together, children may experience an increased level of emotional issues.
Seek Help For Postnatal Depression
If you believe that you are experiencing postnatal depression, it is important to talk to your doctor. A mental health counsellor can be assigned to manage your condition. If your condition is more serious, antidepressant medications could be needed. With a combination of mental therapy and medication, symptoms of postnatal depression may go away rather quickly.
Surround yourself with a group of supportive family and friends. Adjusting to motherhood can be quite stressful for some women as they need to balance their care for their newborns and for themselves. Postnatal depression is a treatable condition with the right therapy and support from loved ones.