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Postpartum Depression (PPD) is essentially depression occurring during the period after delivery of a child; this period extends to a year after delivery. It can affect up to 20% of women within 1 year of delivery and it can occur even if the child does not survive. It is different from Maternal Blues which resolves without treatment.

The birth of a child should be a thing of joy, but it is also highly stressful for some women; the baby suffers as a result. A number of women with PPD are not even aware they have it.

PPD cannot be passed to the baby through breastmilk as it is not a communicable disease. PPD cannot be passed to the husband either. However, some men have left their wives due to ignorance, fear, shame and stigma; they basically pack u understanding of what the condition is about. The condition is spiritualized and the woman is labelled with a “bad leg".

Sometimes, the mother is prevented from attending the naming ceremony due to fear of disgracing family members, and mainly stigmatization.

How does the baby suffer?

He could be neglected while relatives care for the mother, or over-protected by relatives who do not allow the mother; this would cause malnutrition and failure to thrive. A woman with psychotic symptoms can still breastfeed her baby under supervision. This can be done in hospital with mother-baby units.

The mother may also have false beliefs about the baby, and in the extreme, could harm the baby. Some of these false beliefs include thinking the baby is responsible for their problems etc. If the illness is serious and prompt action is not taken, the mother might feel the child would be better off being out of this world.