Are you feeling anxious, withdrawn, or depressed.
It’s not your fault
Postpartum Depression is a biological complication of pregnancy.
Symptoms can be severe and should not be ignored.
The Hummingbird Study is a research study evaluating an investigational medication in women with moderate to severe postpartum depression.
You May Qualify to Participate if you:
Are between 18 to 45 years old
Gave birth within the last 6 months
Frequently feel extremely sad, anxious, or overwhelmed and these symptoms are associated with postpartum depression.
IF YOU QUALIFY AND DECIDE TO PARTICIPATE, YOU WILL RECEIVE:
Study-related care during the 3-day, in-patient period
All study-related care medical care and medication at no cost
All Transportation is provided if needed
For more information please call Ventura Clinical Trials at 1 866 947 6815
What is Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression (PPD), also called postnatal depression, is a type of clinical depression which can affect both sexes after childbirth. Symptoms may include sadness, low energy, changes in sleeping and eating patterns, reduced desire for sex, crying episodes, anxiety, and irritability. While many women experience self-limited, mild symptoms postpartum, postpartum depression should be suspected when symptoms are severe and have lasted over two weeks.
Although a number of risk factors have been identified, the causes of PPD are not well understood. Hormonal change is hypothesized to contribute as one cause of postpartum depression. The emotional effects of postpartum depression can include sleep deprivation, anxiety about parenthood and caring for an infant, identity crisis, a feeling of loss of control over life, and anxiety due to lack of support from a romantic or sexual partner. Many women recover with treatment such as a support group, counseling, or medication.
Between 0.5% to 61% of women will experience depression after delivery. Postpartum psychosis occurs in about 1–2 per thousand women following childbirth. Among men, in particular new fathers, the incidence of postpartum depression has been estimated to be between 1% and 25.5%. In the United States, postpartum depression is one of the leading causes of the murder of children less than one year of age which occurs in about 8 per 100,000 births.
Signs and symptoms
Symptoms of PPD can occur any time in the first year postpartum. Typically, postpartum depression is considered after signs and symptoms persist for at least two weeks. These symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Persistent sadness, anxiousness or “empty” mood
- Severe mood swings
- Frustration, irritability, restlessness, anger
- Feelings of hopelessness and/or helplessness
- Guilt, shame, worthlessness
- Low self-esteem
- Numbness, emptiness
- Inability to be comforted
- Trouble bonding with the baby
- Feeling inadequate in taking care of the baby
- Lack of interest or pleasure in usual activities
- Low or no energy
- Low libido
- Changes in appetite
- Fatigue, decreased energy and motivation
- Poor self-care
- Social withdrawal
- Insomnia or excessive sleep
- Diminished ability to make decisions and think clearly
- Lack of concentration and poor memory
- Fear that you can not care the baby or fear of the baby
- Worry about harming self, baby, or partner
Onset and duration
Postpartum depression usually begins between two weeks to a month after delivery. Recent studies have shown that fifty percent of postpartum depressive episodes actually begin prior to delivery. Therefore, in the DSM-5, postpartum depression is diagnosed under “depressive disorder with peripartum onset”, in which “peripartum onset” is defined as anytime either during pregnancy or within the four weeks following delivery. PPD may last several months or even a year. Postpartum depression can also occur in women who have suffered a miscarriage.
Postpartum depression can interfere with normal maternal-infant bonding and adversely affect child development. Postpartum depression may lead mothers to be inconsistent with childcare.
In rare cases, or about 1 to 2 per 1,000, the postpartum depression appears as postpartum psychosis which may adversely affect the infant’s health. In these, or among women with a history of previous psychiatric hospital admissions, infanticide may occur. In the United States, postpartum depression is one of the leading causes of annual reported infanticide incidence rate of about 8 per 100,000 births.
The cause of PPD is not well understood. Hormonal changes, genetics, and major life events have been hypothesized as potential causes.
Evidence suggests that hormonal changes may play a role. Hormones which have been studied include estrogen, progesterone, thyroid hormone, testosterone, corticotropin releasing hormone, and cortisol.
Fathers, who are not undergoing profound hormonal changes, can also have postpartum depression. The cause may be distinct in males.
Profound lifestyle changes that are brought about by caring for the infant are also frequently hypothesized to cause PPD. However, little evidence supports this hypothesis. Mothers who have had several previous children without suffering PPD can nonetheless suffer it with their latest child. Despite the biological and psychosocial changes that may accompany pregnancy and the post-partum period, most women are not diagnosed with PPD.
While the causes of PPD are not understood, a number of factors have been suggested to increase the risk:
- Prenatal depression or anxiety
- A personal or family history of depression
- Moderate to severe premenstrual symptoms
- Maternity blues
- Birth-related psychological trauma
- Birth-related physical trauma
- Previous stillbirth or miscarriage
- Formula-feeding rather than breast-feeding
- Cigarette smoking
- Low self-esteem
- Childcare or life stress
- Low social support
- Poor marital relationship or single marital status
- Low socioeconomic status
- Infant temperament problems/colic
- Unplanned/unwanted pregnancy
- Elevated prolactin levels
- Oxytocin depletion
Of these risk factors, formula-feeding, a history of depression, and cigarette smoking have been shown to have additive effects.
These above factors are known to correlate with PPD. This correlation does not mean these factors are causal. Rather, they might both be caused by some third factor. Contrastingly, some factors almost certainly attribute to the cause of postpartum depression, such as lack of social support.
Not surprisingly, women with fewer resources indicate a higher level of postpartum depression and stress than those women with more financial resources. Rates of PPD have been shown to decrease as income increases. Women with fewer resources may be more likely to have an unintended or unwanted pregnancy, increasing risk of PPD. Single mothers of low income may have fewer resources to which they have access while transitioning into motherhood.
Studies have also shown a correlation between a mother’s race and postpartum depression. For race, African American mothers have been shown to have the highest risk of PPD at 25%, while Asians had the lowest at 11.5%, after controlling for social factors such as age, income, education, marital status, and baby’s health. The PPD rates for First Nations, Caucasian and Hispanic women fell in between.
Sexual orientation has also been studied as a risk factor for PPD. In a 2007 study conducted by Ross and colleagues, lesbian and bisexual mothers were tested for PPD and then compared with a heterosexual sample. It was found that lesbian and bisexual biological mothers had significantly higher Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale scores than did the heterosexual women in the sample. These higher rates of PPD in lesbian/bisexual mothers may reflect less social support, particularly from their families of origin and additional stress due to homophobic discrimination in society.
A correlation between postpartum thyroiditis and postpartum depression has been proposed but remains controversial. There may also be a link between postpartum depression and anti-thyroid antibodies.
A meta-analysis reviewing research on the association of violence and postpartum depression showed that violence against women increases the incidence of postpartum depression. About one-third of women throughout the world will experience physical and/or sexual violence at some point in their lives. Violence against women occurs in conflict, post-conflict, and non-conflict areas. It is important to note that the research reviewed only looked at violence experienced by women from male perpetrators, but did not consider violence inflicted on men or women by women. Further, violence against women was defined as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering to women”. Psychological and cultural factors associated with increased incidence of postpartum depression include family history of depression, stressful life events during early puberty or pregnancy, anxiety or depression during pregnancy, and low social support. Violence against women is a chronic stressor, so depression may occur when someone is no longer able to respond to the violence.
Postpartum depression in the DSM-5 is known as “depressive disorder with peripartum onset”. Peripartum onset is defined as starting anytime during pregnancy or within the four weeks following delivery. There is no longer a distinction made between depressive episodes that occur during pregnancy or those that occur after delivery. Nevertheless, the majority of experts continue to diagnose postpartum depression as depression with onset anytime within the first year after delivery.
The criteria required for the diagnosis of postpartum depression are the same as those required to make a diagnosis of non-childbirth related major depression or minor depression. The criteria include at least five of the following nine symptoms, within a two-week period
- Feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness, nearly every day, for most of the day or the observation of a depressed mood made by others
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
- Weight loss or decreased appetite
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Feelings of restlessness
- Loss of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Loss of concentration or increased indecisiveness
- Recurrent thoughts of death, with or without plans of suicide
Postpartum blues, commonly known as “baby blues” is a transient postpartum mood disorder characterized by milder depressive symptoms than postpartum depression. This type of depression can occur in up to 80% of all mothers following delivery. Symptoms typically resolve within two weeks. Symptoms lasting longer than two weeks are a sign of more serious depression.
Postpartum psychosis is not a formal diagnosis, but is widely used to describe a psychiatric emergency that appears to occur in about 1 in a 1000 pregnancies, in which symptoms of high mood and racing thoughts (mania), depression, severe confusion, loss of inhibition, paranoia, hallucinations and delusions set in begin suddenly in the first two weeks after delivery; the symptoms vary and can change quickly. It is different from postpartum depression and from maternity blues. It may be a form of bipolar disorder.
About half of women who experience it have no risk factors; but a prior history of mental illness, especially bipolar disorder, a history of prior episodes of postpartum psychosis, or a family history, are at a higher risk.
It often requires hospitalization, where treatment is antipsychotic medication, mood stabilizers, and in cases of strong risk for suicide, electroconvulsive therapy.
The most severe symptoms last from 2 to 12 weeks, and recovery takes 6 months to a year. Women who have been hospitalized for a psychiatric condition immediately after delivery are at a much higher risk of suicide during the first year after delivery.