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A topical approach to life span development, 6e chapter 3

The Postpartum Period
Chapter 3


Postpartum Period



Period after childbirth or delivery



About 6 weeks



Or until mothers body has completed its adjustment and returned to a nearly
prepregnant state




Adjustments are physical, emotional and psychological


Physical Adjustments




Fatigue



Can undermine ones sense of well being



And confidence to cope with a new baby and a new family life

Loss of sleep






Contributes to stress, marital conflict, and impaired decision making

Poor quality of sleep



Disrupted, fragmented sleep



Linked to postpartum depression

Hormone production drops



Emotional and Psychological Adjustments


Several weeks to long term emotional swings



Postpartum blues



70% of new mothers in US



2-3 days after birth, they feel depressed, anxious, and upset



May come and go for several months



Usually go away after one or two weeks


Emotional and Psychological Adjustments


Postpartum depression



Major depressive episode



Typically 4 weeks after delivery



Strong feelings of sadness, anxiety, or despair



At least 2 weeks trouble coping with their daily tasks



Without treatment, can become worse and last for many months



10-14% of new mothers experience



Often do not seek help


Emotional and Psychological Adjustments


Postpartum depression risk factors



History of depression



depression and anxiety during pregnancy



Neuroticism - negative state of fear, anxiety, worry, frustration



Loss self-esteem



Postpartum blues



Poor marital relationship, low levels of social support


Emotional and Psychological Adjustments


Postpartum depression risk factors



Perinatal complications



Infant health and temperament



Type of delivery



Humoral changes



History of physical abuse



Migrant status



Postpartum physical complications


Emotional and Psychological Adjustments



Treatment



Antidepressant drugs



Psychotherapy, especially cognitive therapy



Regular exercise


Emotional and Psychological Adjustments


Other concerns of postpartum depression



Interaction with baby difficulties



Care giving activities (feeding, sleep routines, safety practices)



Fathers may experience depression, jealousy



Study: higher support by fathers was related to a lower incidence of
depression in women


Bonding



The formation of a physical connection between parents and baby... Early on
after birth



Research is mixed



Seems to be more beneficial/needed for mother than for baby



May help with improved integration after leaving the hospital



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