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Postnatal depression is common in SA

One in three South African women will experience depression during or after childbirth, this is according to the Perinatal Mental Health Project. During Mental Health Awareness Month, which takes place annually in October, new mothers are being encouraged to monitor their mental wellbeing and seek treatment for postnatal depression, if they are diagnosed.

“As the body’s hormone levels return to pre-pregnancy levels, feelings of intense emotion and exhaustion are normal in the days after birth. Many women develop overwhelming feelings of sadness, detachment, irritation and fear after their baby is born,” says Dr Howard Manyonga, an obstetrician and Head of The Birthing Team.

Postnatal depression usually begins within the first month after childbirth but can begin during pregnancy or for up to a year following the birth. If untreated, the illness can prevent healthy bonding between mothers and their babies, which is critical to the mental and emotional development of the child.

Once detected, depression can be addressed with counselling and, in some cases, medication. “Assessing a woman’s home environment and existing support networks is important for determining what treatment is best,” says Manyonga.

Check-ups with healthcare providers in the days after birth, as well as the six-week mark are key to ensure that both mom and baby are doing well. New moms are encouraged to speak about their mood and any concerns they have during these visits. Men too can experience depression in the period after the birth of their child, which can take a toll on family relationships.

The Birthing Team, supported by healthcare management company PPO Serve, provides affordable private maternity care to women who are uninsured. Their all-inclusive fee covers all necessary scans, tests, medication and consultations, including hospital costs for the delivery, based on their allocated care plan. They are currently operational at Netcare Park Lane in Johannesburg, Netcare Femina in Pretoria, Netcare Pholoso in Polokwane and JMH City Hospital in Durban. For more information visit: www.thebirthingteam.co.za

ENDS

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Distributed by Be-cause Integrated Communications

Chelsey Wilken

chelsey@be-cause.co.za

021 447 1082 / 060 677 6235

Distributed on behalf of The Birthing Team

Head of The Birthing Team: Dr Howard Manyonga

 

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