Postpartum depression – also known as postnatal depression – occurs after the birth of a baby. It affects both mothers and fathers. The triggers are varied. This is why is requires individualised treatment.
Postpartum depression is widespread in Switzerland. According to the “Postpartale Depression Schweiz” association, it affects around 15% of new mothers. But many people don’t dare talk about the issue. They feel like they should be happy and they feel ashamed of their low mood. A diagnosis is essential in ensuring that the depression is treated and the symptoms can be alleviated.
Although “postpartum” and “postnatal” depression are both used to mean the same thing, there is in fact a difference. “Postnatal” refers to the period after birth but it relates to the child. “Postpartum” refers to the time after childbirth and focuses on the mother. So the correct term is postpartum depression.
It is sometimes hard to differentiate between the causes and symptoms of depression. Disturbed sleep can be both, for example. Triggers tend to be varied, so treatment also needs to incorporate different levels.
Please note: The following list of causes is non-exhaustive.
After the birth of a child, the parents’ lives are usually turned completely upside down. This milestone makes them susceptible to crises.
Low mood – also known as the baby blues – is normal after giving birth. It usually goes away again after a few days. But if the symptoms continue for over a week, this could indicate postpartum depression. Symptoms include:
Postpartum depression can however also trigger physical complaints such as headaches, digestive problems or muscle tension.
Postpartum depression also affects fathers. Prior illness in the mother is one of the risk factors for this. Depression often occurs later in the case of fathers. The symptoms are also different. Whereas women are often sad, men tend to feel angry and socially isolated.
The type of treatment is just as individual as the triggers and symptoms. The affected person needs to find out what is most helpful. They may need professional support with this.
If an affected person can no longer cope with the situation on their own or feel like they need support, it’s a good idea to consult external specialists. The first point of contact should be the GP, the midwife or a family counselling centre, for example. Treatment is then taken over by a psychologist or a psychiatrist.
Do you require any further information or have any questions about postpartum depression? Our health consultation advisors are happy to help you.
Various types of therapy are used for postpartum depression. Specialists work with the affected person to assess the most suitable type of treatment:
In the case of serious illness, inpatient treatment should be considered. There are special clinics with mother and child spaces for this.
The psychiatrist or doctor can prescribe medication that supports healing. However, these should always be combined with other therapy types. The following medications are used for postpartum depression:
Basic insurance covers the costs of medical psychotherapy if a corresponding diagnosis has been made and the treatment has been prescribed by a doctor. The same applies to any non-medical psychotherapy provided by an independent psychotherapist, provided the statutory conditions are met.
Many alternative treatments are covered by corresponding supplementary insurance. For instance, COMPLETA covers 75 per cent of treatment costs where recognised therapists and methods of complementary medicine are used.
Yes. However, it’s important to remove the triggers as far as possible. The depression should have also subsided before becoming pregnant. All specialists who support the mother during the next pregnancy should be informed of her previous depression. It sometimes also makes sense to undergo therapy during the pregnancy or after the birth.
Julia Pieh (doctorate in pharmacy and toxicology, pharmacist, naturopath) works as a health consultation advisor and quality coach at Helsana. She is committed to providing health advice to our customers. Ms Pieh provided the editorial team with advice and input for this article.