1. It's really quite common
Postnatal Depression is a depressive disorder which affects women. It occurs in 10-15 in every 100 women having a baby. Child birth is a time of significant physiological and emotional change. Post natal baby blues are commonly experienced by 80% of mothers between the third and tenth day the baby is born, and only last for several days. This is not the same as PND , where symptoms are more intense, severe and persist for a much longer duration.
2. It's nothing to be ashamed of
Often women can experience significant emotional changes following childbirth , not least due to the hormonal changes taking place after deliver . Women with PND may experience significant feelings of guilt and failure as a mother and a wife . These feelings can be intense and at times overwhelming. Motherhood is a challenging but rewarding time and women with PND need to be empowered , validated and supported emotionally by partners and professionals to process these feelings in a therapeutic way .
3. It shouldn't affect your medical insurance - but it might...
It shouldn't do in principle however insurance coverage varies significantly between different providers and premiums . Generally psychiatric treatment is not well covered by the insurance sector despite some positive changes recently. It's always worth checking terms and conditions at the inception of your policy . Unfortunately in some cases people have been forced to self pay due the need for urgent psychiatric care and treatment.
4. Getting treatment for PND does NOT mean you have to stop breastfeeding
This is a common misconception that can act as a hindrance to treatment and delay people accessing much needed care . There are a range of options for treatment and it's not correct to assume that this involves stopping breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is a integral part of the bonding and attachment process and in many cases women are supported to continue breastfeeding with the help of midwives and psychiatrists .
5. Help is available
If you think you may have the baby blues or postnatal depression, you should not suffer alone. There are many different clinics and groups where you can go for non-judgmental support from medical professionals as well as from those who have been through the same thing, who can show you that you can and will get better:
- Out of The Blues is a UAE-based website and Facebook group offering support for parents suffering from the baby blues, postnatal depression, prenatal depression, and any other form of depressive illness. The group consists of UAE-based mums who have been through PND themselves who meet for weekly coffee mornings, and they are very well-placed to offer recommendations of people to see or simply an ear to listen.
- The Priory is a wellbeing clinic based in Healthcare City that offers a combination of medication and psychotherapy to treat depressive disorders
- Dr Yaseen Aslam is a UK-trained doctor and consultant psychiatrist from Manchester in the UK who works at Psychiatry & Therapy Clinic in Health Care City
- The team of lovely psychologists and psychiatrists at The LightHouse Arabia are well-placed to offer support to anyone who thinks they may be suffering from PND. They also offer a range of free counselling workshops, and support groups as part of their community events
Read more: What to do if you think you may have postnatal depression in the UAE
Could you or your loved one have PND?
There are a range of symptoms you may experience if you are suffering from PND. These include:
A persistent feeling of low mood and being unhappy.
Extreme lethargy and tiredness.
Severe disruption to the sleep architecture with marked insomnia and early morning wakening.
Irritability and anger
Tearfulness and emotional lability
Impaired concentration and attention
An inability to derive pleasure from or enjoy anything (Anhedonia)
Loss of confidence
Negative Thinking patterns.
Feelings of Guilt.
Thoughts that you are a bad mother
Feelings that you are not bonding with your baby
Thoughts that your baby doesn’t love you
Anxiety features characterized by a preoccupation that there is something wrong with either you or your baby and other features of autonomic arousal such as palpitations, panic symptoms, sweating and feeling breathless
Feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness
**If you feel you are or your loved one is in a state of emergency it is vital that you/they are not left alone. Seek immediate help from a care provider;**
- If you are alone, call a friend or family member as soon as possible and ask them to stay with you until you are able to find help
- Call your family doctor if you have one
- Calling the emergency department Rashid Hospital in Dubai would be the best starting point for out of hours care 04 324 1111
- If you already have a mental health provider (counsellor or psychiatrist) get in touch with them and discuss how you are feeling
- The Lighthouse Arabia 043809298 / 043809289
Dr Yaseen Aslam is a consultant psychiatrist at The Psychiatry and Therapy Centre in Healthcare City