Postpartum Stress: A Literature Review

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Postpartum Mood Disorders
Giving birth to a baby brings one of the biggest psychological and physiological changes a woman may encounter in her lifetime. Pregnancy and childbearing bring with them joy, hope and excitement and are marked by celebration. However, the birth of a child can at times be overshadowed by overwhelming emotional struggles. Due to the enormity of the changes associated with child bearing, it is highly likely that a woman may experience some form of related stress. These emotional or mood struggles are a common occurrence after childbirth and are a major postpartum challenge (Stocky & Lynch, 2000). According to the NIH (2015), mood changes, otherwise known as postpartum stress or depression, affects mothers within three
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One of the proposed methods has been providing social support to new mothers and their families. Support to new African mothers mostly comes from female relatives and friends (Njoku, 2013) (Warren, Daly, Toure, & Mongi, 2006). Existing literature shows that intimate partners play an important role in postpartum social support, hence the need to study the role of African men in reducing postpartum stress. This paper argues that intimate partner support is as important as social support given by friends and relatives in reducing the incidence of postpartum mood disorders in new African mothers. In that regard, this paper will use evidence from previous research to support this argument. The terms postpartum stress/disorder/depression, as used interchangeably in the paper, refer to postpartum mood…show more content…
The postpartum period is associated with mood disorders, with the most common being blues, postpartum depression and puerperal psychosis (Stewart, Robertson, Dennis, Grace, & Wallington, 2003). As stated by (Thurgoo, Avery, & Williamson, 2009), baby blues is the most prevalent at rates of 50-80%. The mood disturbance has a late onset and peaks on the fifth day but resolves within two weeks. It is characterized by frequent crying, fatigue, anger, sadness, irritability, and insomnia. On the other hand, postpartum psychosis is the worst form of postpartum mood disorders and is associated with delusions, hallucinations, rapid speech and mood swings, paranoia, agitation, inability to eat and sleep, racing thoughts, and, suicidal feelings. The manifestation, prevalence and management approaches to these conditions vary. Previous studies have shown that postpartum depression affects the mother-child relationship, mother-spouse relationship, as well as the cognitive development and behavior of the child. Although giving birth to a newborn brings joy to a parent, the occurrence of stressors has the potential for affecting parents immensely. These stressors are responsible for postpartum stress/depression and include; fatigue, soreness, baby feeding, high

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