Maternal depression: Lack of awareness, COVID-19 curbs compound challenges facing mothers in Thailand

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PPD is a serious mental illness that affects women after giving birth.

Symptoms such as depressed mood, insomnia and severe anxiety usually occur within the first few months after childbirth and may occur during pregnancy. may lead to

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), postnatal depression and anxiety are the leading causes of disability in women worldwide. A study published in March this year estimated its prevalence to be 13% in high-income countries and 19.8% in lower- and middle-income countries.

In 2021, the Rajanukul Institute under the Thai Ministry of Mental Health compiled several studies on maternal depression. Studies have shown that maternal depression within the first 4 to 6 weeks after birth has a prevalence of 9.5 to 25% of her.

There is a general lack of awareness and screening, referral and treatment systems for maternal depression in Thailand.

Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has curtailed movement, making this an additional challenge for those suffering from PPD.

At his Bangkok apartment, Magoffin said how difficult it was to get help.

“First of all, it’s difficult to get an appointment. Then there are no professionals here,” he said.

The 38-year-old from Australia met his wife 12 years ago at Oxford University in England and moved to Thailand to start a family. With the birth of their son last March, Magoffin recalled “a very happy family.”

By the time Arthur was about four months old, Pranaiya had begun to exhibit intense anxiety and developed insomnia. This involved her husband, who was warned of PPD by a friend of hers shortly after the baby was born.

He began asking about what they should do, and in mid-July the couple decided to seek medical advice. or could leave the house only for medical visits.

Their first doctor ruled out postpartum depression. He said it was nothing more than a strong anxiety and mild depression, and prescribed pranaiya medicine.

“From the next day, she started to deteriorate rapidly,” Magoffin said. His wife and child died less than seven weeks later.

complex disorder

Postpartum depression is a complex disorder, and researchers are still trying to understand it.

According to Yadawi Tantrompiros, a psychiatrist at Samitivej Hospital in Bangkok, the condition is linked to a chemical imbalance in the brain caused by a sharp drop in hormone levels after a woman gives birth. There is a possibility.

Its severity is divided into three types, ranging from postpartum blues to postpartum depression to postpartum psychosis.

“With postpartum depression, the mother experiences sadness, worry, and anxiety, but is still able to function, which means she can take care of her baby, her home, and herself.

“But with postpartum depression, the symptoms are more severe. The mother experiences a lot of grief, anxiety and worry, and many aspects of her life begin to fall apart. You will not be able to

“In severe cases, you may have suicidal thoughts, or even infanticide out of fear that your baby won’t be able to live without you,” she explained.

The most extreme type is postpartum psychosis. This rare condition usually develops within the first few days after birth and is accompanied by tinnitus, hallucinations and paranoia. The mother may also lose her memory and become suicidal, believing the baby is not hers.

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