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Essay about Postpartum Depression: A Literature Review

Postpartum depression impacts the lives of 10-15% of postpartum women and typically occurs within one month of giving birth, despite the identification of some clear risk factors1,2. Furthermore, having a baby is often viewed as a joyous event and there is a negative stigma associated with depression that occurs following the birth. Research has indicated that there are risk factors that can strongly predict postpartum depression, such as socioeconomic status, relationship status, and mental health throughout pregnancy but less research has focused on nutritional factors influencing postpartum depression2,3. Being able to make adjustments in the diet during pregnancy to reduce the risk of postpartum depression could increase a mother’s…

The analysis will discuss the results of studies assessing nutrition and postpartum depression, and the methodology employed in the various studies. As a mother of two, I have experienced the postpartum “baby blues” which is sometimes confused with postpartum depression. After a particularly stressful birth of my second son I told to “get it together because [I] should be happy to have a baby” by a labor and delivery provider and I realized there is a grave need for all healthcare providers to be more aware of what postpartum depression is and how to help women who have it or are at risk for…

The studies, so far, have used retrospective and prospective data collection methods to look at the effects of nutrition on postpartum depression. In retrospective studies, the subjects were asked to recall dietary habits and recall emotions felt in the months following pregnancy1,3,4. Others used food frequency questionnaires to assess habitual intake during pregnancy, both from a retrospective stance and for prospective research1,3. Still others assessed dietary status through blood samples1,3,7-9. To assess postpartum depression, a variety of tools were utilized: the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, the MINI, Patient Health Questionnaire or the Postpartum Depression Screening Scale1,3,4,7-9. For prospective studies, these scales were often utilized during the antenatal period as well as the postpartum period to assess change in depression status1,3…

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