Postpartum depression in Minority women

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Postpartumdepression in Minority women

Postpartumdepression (PPD) refers to the trauma that mothers experience aftergiving birth. It is as a result of fatigue, hormonal changes andpsychological adjustments on the mother’s side. In many cases, itbecomes evident within the first four weeks after childbirth and whena woman has had a miscarriage. According to research, about 11-20% ofwomen who give birth annually suffer from postpartum depressionsymptoms (Wisner et al 8). Among these aggregates, African Americanwomen make up the largest percentage. There are several factors thatmake Black women more susceptible to postpartum depression than otherraces. These factors include history of depression in the family,child scare, and low socioeconomic status among others. Postpartumdepression is common among minority groups such as African-Americanwomen because of disparities in healthcare services and financialproblems which they experience because of their differences inethnicity, social groups, and racial backgrounds.

Riskfactors for postpartum depression

Postpartumdepression is associated with risk factors such as previous cases ofstillbirth or miscarriage, family history of depression, child scareand low socioeconomic status. Additionally, it is linked tophysiological factors such as hormonal changes after childbirth anddomestic violence. Recent reports from the Huffington’s post andcenter for disease control show that stillbirths affect about 1% ofall pregnancies annually meaning about 24,000 babies (Hartmann et al.2013). Among these aggregates, black women are at a greater riskcompared to whites and this can be attributed to higher rates ofunwanted pregnancies and other psychological factors that are moreprevalent among this population. Since stillbirth is a risk factorfor PPD and African-American women are greatly affected, it isevident that they are more affected by the condition than any otherrace in the United States.

Similarly,research-based evidence points out that depression rates are highamong African-Americans. Mental health America for instance statethat 17-20 million Americans are affected by depression every year(Schetter &amp Tanner, 2012). Among these aggregates, 4% AfricanAmerican women are more likely to report depression compared to theirwhite counterparts. Additional findings also show that only 7.6% ofAfrican-American sought treatment (CDC, 2016). These figures are farbelow the average of 13.6 of the general population which seeksmedical intervention for depression (Hartmann, et al. 2013). Theythus, point out that in the case of postpartum depression,African-American women are more likely to be affected compared toother races in the United States. Child scare is usually attributedto unwanted pregnancies, rape or other personal issues. In a researchjournal on teenage pregnancy, it was discovered that in the year2014, a total of 249,078 babies were born to women aged 15-19 years(CDC,2016). Although this is a reduction from previous years, if most ofthe pregnancies are unwanted, it is evident that the risk ofpostpartum depression is even higher. A closer analysis of this databy race indicates that Hispanic adolescent females had the highestrates at 34.9 per 1000 adolescent and this was followed byAfrican-Americans which came at a close 34.9% (CDC,2016). As a result, African-American women tend to suffer PPD becauseof depression as a result of unwanted pregnancy.

Postpartumdepression is enhanced even further because economic, social andpsychological challenges that African-American undergo. Compared toother races such as the whites, African-Americans experiences hugeeconomic disparities. With these financial challenges, it is evidentthat they have limited access to proper medical support. Giving birthand child-upbringing require a lot of finances and when this islacking it is evident that depression may start.

Healthimpacts of postpartum depression

Postpartumdepression can have a lot of impact on the newborn child and themother. One of the health effects is that it interfere with thenormal maternal-infant bonding, and this can affect the child’sgrowth and development. Research has established that the first fewmonths after childbirth are usually critical in creating a bondbetween the mother and the child. Mothers who suffer from postpartumdepression have very little time for their children and as a result,the relationship established through acts like breastfeeding andholding the child fail to take place. Consequently, research hasestablished that children born to mothers suffering from thiscondition tend to have higher emotional and behavioral problems(Wisner 12). On the mother’s side, PPD can result in a feeling ofworthlessness and thus recurrent thoughts to commit suicide. ManyAfrican-Americans have exhibited signs of emotional drainage andexhaustion.

Additionally,postpartum depression can cause self-esteem problems because themother usually feels unwanted and unappreciated. This may discourageher from looking for any a meaningful employment thus leading to evenmore financial problems. On the side of the child, properbreastfeeding is essential because it enhances the child immunesystem. Children who are not breastfed properly tend to haveimmunocompromised system and if there is no proper medical attention,they may suffer serious ninfections and medical complications.

Othermild effects that occur in the initial phase following diagnosisinclude sleep deprivation, lack of food appetite and aggressiveness.After childbirth, mothers need to eat properly and be of good healthin order to recover lost blood and weight. Sleep deprivation and lossof appetite tend to facilitate the opposite of this and thusresulting in malnutrition in both the baby and the newborn child.Based on these effects it is, therefore, evident that postpartumdepression has behavioral, emotional and cognitive consequences.

Treatmentof postpartum depression

Sincethe condition is common among African-American women, it is evidentthat some of its major causes are health inequalities and lowstandards of living as a result of low income. Effective treatmentoptions should, therefore, try to ensure health equality andimproving their standards of living before exploring other options(Bates et al. 2014). For instance, the government should enactpolicies that promote equality. There is the need for womenempowerment and raising of minimal monthly wage for African-Americanwomen. This measures will ensure that these aggregates have properfinances to support their children and thus reducing incidences ofpostpartum depression.

African-Americanwomen who reside in a low-income environment are at a higher risk ofdeveloping PPD. Additionally, if financial problems are combined withthe lack of social support after giving birth, the risk becomes evengreater. As an intervention, it is thus important to explore othertreatment options such as group therapy because of the need forsocial support. Unlike medical interventions, group therapies givethese women an opportunity to feel less isolated. It allows for theirfeelings to be normalized. It is also possible for women whoparticipate in group therapy to develop a better relationship withtheir babies and thus assess their role as a mother.

Otheradvantages of group therapy are that it encourage women to come upwith their own solutions to their problems which are usually easierto follow than directives from counselors and psychologist. Whenwomen suffering from postpartum depression engage in group therapy,they are able to encourage each other and this help in preventingsuicidal thoughts and other forms of self-harms.

Anotherintervention that can work for African-American women is ensuringequality in health care delivery. It is evident that because offinancial constraints, many Black women cannot have access to qualityhealth services. The state departments through its numerous agenciesshould ensure that they expand their insurance policies toaccommodate low-income parents (Schetter &amp Tanner, 2012). Thiswill be effective because, in the event that a woman has beendiagnosed with PPD, she can commence treatment hence faster recovery.Currently, the government through the affordable health care act andother insurance policies have tried to address this by providingaffordable covers to individuals from low-income families to ensurethat they too have access to proper healthcare.

Additionally,since the condition is associated with depression, another line oftherapy that can be adopted is the use of antidepressants. If doneproperly with the help of a physician, this intervention can be veryeffective because it will hinder negative thoughts such as the desireto commit suicide. The main challenge to this treatment option isthat many women may not want to take medication because they arebreastfeeding. Some researchers have also recommended hormone therapybecause it has been established that some cases of PPD are usually asa result of hormonal fluctuations (Wisner 5). It is thus evident thatby averting this event, it may be possible to manage the condition.Lastly, another treatment option for postpartum depression is throughcounseling. This usually involves the patient talking to a mentalhealth professional or a psychologist. In the counseling session, thepsychiatrist can help the patient identify some of the factors thattriggered her action and come up with solutions to the problem.

Froman individual’s perspective, effective management of postpartumdepression requires the active participation of everyone in thesociety. Both the family of the affected mother and the society atlarge have an important role to play. The surrounding community canhelp by not victimizing the woman especially if it is a teenagemother. Additionally, the family members can provide the appropriatesocial support that can aid in quick recovery from the condition.


Inconclusion, postpartum depression is a serious condition that affectswomen after giving birth. The most affected aggregates are AfricanAmerican women. Postpartum depression is caused by biological factorssuch as genetics previous stillbirth or miscarriage, family historyof depression and child scare among others. The long-term effects ofuntreated postpartum include affecting the behavioral, emotional andcognitive development of the mother towards her child. As anintervention, some of the strategies that can be adopted to reversethe condition include group therapy, whereby affected parents areencouraged to share their problems. This intervention is effectivebecause it allows mothers to re-establish a relationship with theirchildren. Additionally, other interventions include offeringfinancial support, use of antidepressants and hormonal therapy.


CDC.(2016).&nbspAbout Teen Pregnancy | Teen Pregnancy | Reproductive Health | 7 October 2016, from

Mukherjee,S., Edwards, D. R. V., Baird, D. D., Savitz, D. A., &amp Hartmann,K. E. (2013). Risk of miscarriage among black women and white womenin a US Prospective Cohort Study.&nbspAmericanjournal of epidemiology,kws393.

Mukherjee,S., Edwards, D. R. V., Baird, D. D., Savitz, D. A., &amp Hartmann,K. E. (2013). Risk of miscarriage among black women and white womenin a US Prospective Cohort Study.&nbspAmericanjournal of epidemiology,kws393.

Schetter,C. D., &amp Tanner, L. (2012). Anxiety, depression, and stress inpregnancy: implications for mothers, children, research, andpractice.Currentopinion in psychiatry,&nbsp25(2),141.

Vasa,R., Eldeirawi, K., Kuriakose, V. G., Nair, J., Newsom, C., &ampBates, J. (2014). Postpartum depression in mothers of infants inneonatal intensive care unit: risk factors and managementstrategies.&nbspAmericanjournal of perinatology,&nbsp31(05),425-434.

Wisner,K. L., Sit, D. K., McShea, M. C., Rizzo, D. M., Zoretich, R. A.,Hughes, C. L &amp Confer, A. L. (2013). Onset timing, thoughts ofself-harm, and diagnoses in postpartum women with screen-positivedepression findings.&nbspJAMApsychiatry,&nbsp70(5),490-498.

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