In Ghana, mothers who have sick babies are much more likely to suffer from postpartum depression. A new study says that could put their children at risk. Researchers say while the study of postpartum depression was done in Ghana, the findings could apply to many low-income countries.
Lead author Dr. Katherine Gold said while it’s a condition well understood in the developed world, that’s not the case in Ghana or most of Africa.
“Postpartum depression would be a clinical depression in the first year after giving birth. This is not the baby blues where people might feel a little down or have some hormonal changes. These are people who are having significant difficulty functioning; taking care of themselves; taking care of their babies,” she said.
It can have numerous causes.
“You can have a genetic predisposition. If your mother had it or your sister had it, you might be at risk. If you’ve been depressed before or have other mental health problems -- if you don’t have a lot of social support – that could be a risk factor. And one of the surprising things was that the risk factors in high-income countries seemed to be pretty similar to the risk factors in low-income countries,” she said.