Care the main therapy for depressed mothersTwo Korean doctors recommend that friends and family help new mothers to shake off postpartum depression for the well-being of their babies and to allow them to focus on managing their own and the infants’ health.
Lee Pil-ryang, a doctor at the Asan Medical Hospital, and Bae Duk-soo, a doctor at the Samsung Medical Center, said a mother’s postpartum depression could hinder her child’s learning ability.
The two doctors said post-birth health management was crucial for a new mother to treat physical and mental stress that could result from keeping the infant healthy while coping with hormonal and physical changes that resulted from the pregnancy.
The doctors say it takes six months for a woman to recover from giving birth and it is during this period that health and mental management is important.
According to Drs. Lee and Bae, 10 to 20 percent of women suffer depression after giving birth. The first signs of depression usually appear four weeks after the birth and continue for about five months. Although the reasons for postpartum depression are unclear, many doctors believe it is related to hormonal changes.
The doctors said that when a mother suffers from postpartum depression, the child will have trouble growing normally. The child will frequently become irritated and have difficulty sleeping. Such babies’ physical responses are slow and they make no verbal response on making eye contact.
The longer the mother’s depression lasts, the further the child’s cognitive and learning abilities falls, the doctors say.
The doctors say keen interest from those close to the mother is very important for her recovery. The symptoms of postpartum depression vary from person to person. Some have difficulty sleeping, have no wish to eat and become very pessimistic. Others may cry without reason and become overly sensitive. A mother’s memory or concentration may drop and she may become dissatisfied and filled with guilt, hate or rage. The doctors said there is no better treatment than care from those close to the mother. Caffeine should be avoided also and light exercise can aid in the recovery.
Drs. Lee and Bae said obesity is the most important physical problem to be resolved after giving birth.
Usually a woman who has just given birth weighs 5 to 20 kilograms (11-44 pounds) more than she did before the pregnancy and that excess weight can be difficult to lose.
Weight management should start even during the pregnancy, the doctors said. The ideal weight gain should be between 12 and 16 kilograms when a woman is at the end of her pregnancy. Women who were overweight even before their pregnancy should try to keep their additional weight gain below 11 kilograms, the doctors said. They also advised that new mothers should try to lose their excess weight between three to six months after the child’s birth.
by Ko Jong-kwan