Hyderabad: A study has found that 22 per cent of Indian mothers suffer from postpartum depression (PPD). The finding was the result of a meta-analysis of 38 studies involving 20,043 women, highlighting the need to address maternal mental health issues.
The review was carried out by researchers and doctors from the clinical evaluations and was a part of the report submitted to World Health Organisation on PPD
In the report, recently published by the WHO, it was found that prevalence of PPD was high in the southern region at 26 per cent, followed by the eastern region with 23 per cent, south-western 23 per cent and 21 per cent in the western region. The prevalence was lowest in the northern region at 15 per cent. There have been multiple studies on PPD in India but understanding of epidemiology of the disease is not up to the mark. The gaps exist as the disease profile is not maintained, researchers said.
Postpartum psychiatric disorders have been divided into postpartum blues, psychosis and postpartum depression. The first one resolves in a few days and the incidence of psychosis ranges from 0.89 to 2.6 per 1,000 births. PPD is a severe disorder and it can continue for months after child birth and would require medical attention.
Dr Ashok Reddy, consultant psychiatrist and director of Government Medical College, Mahbubnagar, said, “There are gaps in the epidemiological studies as they have been picked up on a random basis. But PPD is a disorder about which awareness has to be created at the level of obstetricians and nurses. They have to identify the cases and counsel them. Only the severe ones have to be referred to a psychiatrist.”
The most common factors for PPD are financial difficulties, domestic violence, past history of psychiatric illness in the mother, marital conflict, stressful life and substance abuse by the husband.
Experts insist that with maternal mortality declining in India, the focus must also be on maternal mental health and it must be addressed effectively.