STIGMA

Postnatal depression rising due to lack of awareness, stigma

Many women suffer silently due to stigma associated with it

In Summary

• Families visit the mother to see the newborn while ignoring the condition of the mother.

• According to medics, a well-balanced diet, well-maintained sugar levels, adequate sleep and rest can reduce the risk of postpartum depression.  

A mother and her child are attended to at the Beyond Zero Mobile Clinic in Homa Bay. /
MAY LEAD TO DEATH: A mother and her child are attended to at the Beyond Zero Mobile Clinic in Homa Bay. /
Image: FILE

The responsibilities of being a parent are worrying, especially being a first-time mother and a single parent, which is likely to lead to postnatal depression.

Postpartum depression which is also known as postnatal depression is a complex mix of physical, emotional and behavioural changes that happen to a woman after giving birth.

Due to self-stigma associated with postpartum depression, many women suffer silently. This condition may lead to death. Due to limited awareness on postpartum depression and lack of family support, visits by relatives to see the newborn while ignoring the condition of the mother further worsens the health of the mother.

A woman, as viewed by society, is supposed to be excited about bearing a child and love that child. But the physical and mental change after childbearing may spark doubts as to whether she will make a good mother and how she will provide for the child, protect it and bring it up morally while at the same time taking care of herself, may be overwhelming for a new mother. 

According to medics, a well-balanced diet, well-maintained sugar levels, adequate sleep and rest can reduce the risk of postpartum depression. At the health facility level, doctors prescribe antidepressants to persons with severe postnatal depression.

In addition family support especially from spouses plays a major role in reducing postpartum depression. The government must also put in resources to support women who undergo post-partum depression. Increased awareness at the community as well as health facility level will reduce the stigma associated with postpartum depression.

The health of a new mother must be monitored to ensure she can care for both the baby and herself.

 

Naya Kenya, Nairobi