14 July 2024

Postpartum Depression: Medical expert advises men to assist wives after child birth

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Dr Olusegun Shoyombo, a Consultant Psychiatrist at the National Hospital, Abuja, has advised men to assist their wives in doing house chores after childbirth.

He gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday, saying such assistance is necessary
to enable the nursing mothers avoid Postpartum Depression (PPD).

Shoyombo, who said that some women experience PPD after childbirth, defined the condition as “a depression or an illness
that some women experience after giving birth”.

“It is a situation where the woman feels sad all the time without any reason, lacks energy, as well as losing interest in things
that she normally likes and enjoys.

“These happen to few women immediately after childbirth.”

The consultant psychiatrist explained that PPD occurs as a result of rapid change in the hormonal balance of a woman after
childbirth or as a result of certain chemical imbalance in the brain.

Shoyombo, therefore, advised men to learn more about the condition, as well as assist the women so as to avoid severe consequences.

He added that PPD in some cases can even lead to separation and broken homes because some men are unable to understand what the woman is going through.

The medical expert said, “Normally, a childbirth is a happy event that we celebrate; the mother is happy, the father is happy, everybody is happy.

“However, for some women after they have given birth to a child, they begin to feel sad, they begin to feel inadequate, they feel they are not good parents, they cannot provide care for the baby.

“It is not because they are bad or they are evil, it is not because they are possessed by any demons, the process of pregnancy is stressful, the process of delivery is stressful.

“Pregnancies which culminate into delivery is a process where you have rapid change in the hormonal balance of the woman;
all of these put together can be stressful for a woman to the point where she will be depressed.

“A mother could have PPD if she had gone through Caesarean Section or the labour was prolonged, there are many factors relating to it but it is uncommon, it happens to a few women.”

The medical doctor added that a nursing mother who had depression in the past could also have PPD, “and the condition is not only associated with young mothers”.

According to the doctor, lack of support in doing the house chores can also lead to PPD, with symptoms
such as insomnia, loss of appetite, intense irritability and difficulty bonding with the baby.

He, therefore, urged nursing mothers passing through the challenge to get enough rest and sleep.

Shoyombo explained that if untreated, the condition may last months or longer, adding that treatment includes counselling, antidepressants
or hormone therapy.

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