The new North-western Medicine study has reported successfully that a new mother would mostly experience worsening depressive symptoms over the first year of giving birth to the child. This puts the mother at risk. The scientists have conducted their study on this depression trajectory with the help and usage of four maternal characteristics that put the mother at risk.
They say that if these factors are identified successfully in the early stage of the postpartum period then it is more feasible to treat the mothers earlier and improve their chance of a full recovery. However, the scientists determined a woman's score based on the four characteristics and, using a computational algorithm that predicts her depression trajectory, provided the odds of which group the woman would fall in. These four characteristics include how many children the mother already has; her capability and ability to function in general life, at work and in relationships; her educational background and her depression severity at four to eight weeks postpartum. It is shown that a mother with postpartum depression is more likely to fall into one of three depression trajectories, ranging from gradual remission (however over time condition becomes better), to partial improvement (by 12 months postpartum where she moves towards a positive direction but continues to have symptoms), to chronic severe (where her symptoms start at the same level as the partial improvement trajectory but worsen over time). The first author Sheehan Fisher, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences at North-western University Feinberg School of Medicine said that "By the time a mother comes in for her six-week postpartum visit, we have the potential to predict the severity of her depression over the next 12 months" . He mentioned that this is going to be a game-changer for mothers and their clinicians as the research is going to have early intervention so that the mothers have better odds of success with their treatment over time. Fisher also hopes that the findings and results will lead to have better and improvised step care for new mothers in all three depression trajectories for better health care. According to him, mothers who suffer with postpartum depression mostly have problems like difficulty sleeping, feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt, difficulty in dealing with negative emotions, unable to focus or concentrate on things and generally feel a lot of emotional distress. The Postpartum depression not only has negative influence on the mother but also can negatively impact her child's functioning and health. It can completely destroy the child's emotional development and also the ability to regulate their own emotions. The longer the woman is in depression, it is more difficult it is to treat her right and get her back in normal situation. But sometimes, it may also take some time to find the right medication and get access to the right provider. Fisher said that "It only complicates things if the mother doesn't start her treatment until later on”.
By: Anuja Arora