Perinatal depression, also referred to as postpartum depression, affects at least 1 in 10 childbearing women. Defined as major depression occurring during pregnancy or the first 12 months after delivery perinatal depression is the most frequent form of maternal illness following delivery, making it a major public health concern. Symptoms of perinatal or postpartum depression last for more than 2 weeks, and can cause significant impairment in daily functioning. After giving birth, between 3 – 8 women out of 10 may experience “Baby Blues”, or postpartum blues, which includes a mild mood shift lasting less than 2 weeks, occurring within 1 week after giving birth.
Postpartum depression is a significant health concern affecting low-income women more often than women who are financially secure. It is consistently associated with negative maternal and child health outcomes, including: poor mother-child interaction, young child behavioral and learning difficulties, and less compliance with preventive healthcare.