Postpartum Depression goes unnoticed in Kashmir

SRINAGAR: A surprisingly high number of women in Kashmir could be  suffering  from ‘Postpartum Depression’. Worse, experts say, many of them might not be even knowing  it.
“Despite being much prevalent , this form of depression has remained unnoticed and untreated by and large here in the valley,” says Dr Taizeena Khan, Founder/Principal ‘Red Letter Phyline(RLP)’, Centre for women’s and Pediatric Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation, Srinagar .
Dr Khan adds: “ Women in Kashmir usually are not aware about this condition. Hence, the condition remains unnoticed. Though it is a temporary form of depression but almost every woman in Kashmir is at risk of experiencing it.”
Postpartum Depression (PPD) also referred to as Postnatal Depression is a type of clinical depression which affects women typically after childbirth. It is considered to be a condition in which a woman undergoes various emotional changes post delivering the baby.
“In this condition, a feeling of sadness and hopelessness takes over a mother within first few weeks of delivery. A mother is most likely to become very hypersensitive and irritable. It can also happen after miscarriages and still births,” Dr Khan told Kashmir Reader.
Women with hormonal or thyroid imbalances are most likely to suffer from postpartum depression. “Those women having problems with their hormones or those with thyroid imbalances are mostly at risk. Other factors that could lead to this condition include history of marital stress or those with unwanted and unplanned pregnancy,” said Dr Khan.
A vast majority of postpartum women with depression are not identified or treated In Kashmir even when at higher risk of psychiatric disorders. Experts warn that if left untreated, the condition may lead to severe complication known as ‘Postpartum Psychosis’.
“Most of the times, due to lack of awareness about this post delivery condition, people tend to ignore the symptoms and don’t feel the need to seek medical help which is dangerous. In most of the cases, postpartum depression leads ‘Postpartum Psychosis’ (a condition where a mother can harm either herself or the baby), if untreated,” said Dr Khan.
However, proper prenatal and postnatal education coupled with conscious efforts can overcome the post delivery challenges believe Dr Khan. She suggests the inclusion of prenatal classes in maternity centers of valley. “A woman needs to be educated about it. It can be done only through prenatal classes which are an alien concept over here yet in dire need,” said Dr Khan.
Prenatal or Postnatal classes are a novel concept and not introduced yet in Kashmir. It is ideally a place where a mother is taught how to make adjustments with the new demanding lifestyle including education about mother and baby care post delivery.
“Such classes also include counseling session with husband and family members of a woman to help deal the condition. These calluses are of immense use. From my experiences, things become easier for a woman as she somewhat knows what is expected after giving birth to a child,” added Dr Khan.