Introduction When a woman gives birth to a child, it can be one of the most joyous and exciting moments in her life, yet it can also be difficult and stressful. There are a range of emotional, behavioral, and physical changes that occur shortly after a woman gives birth. These changes are common; however, many women who experience these emotions may have postpartum depression, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Many women require medical treatment. Although all causes of postpartum depression are unknown, there are many factors that can put a woman at risk. This essay provides an overview of postpartum depression, the impact it has on the individual client, the newborn, and the family, the physical and mental assessment
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A woman’s husband or partner may have his own feelings regarding the birth of their child, his new role in the family, as well as concerns about his partner’s health. Other members of the family may struggle with their own hidden emotions as well. The family should offer support by giving the mother a break from her childcare duties, be understanding, and provide a listening ear.
Physical & Mental Assessment There are many physical and mental assessment findings the nurse may observe in a client with postpartum depression including: a lack of interest in life, negative feelings towards the baby, fear of hurting the baby, decreased appetite, no energy or motivation, along with disturbed sleeping patterns. According to Julia Frank (2005), “as many as 80% of women experience some mood disturbances after pregnancy…they feel upset, alone, afraid, or unloving toward their baby, and guilt for having these feelings” (Overview section, para. 2). A woman may have thoughts of suicide, confusion, and an impaired memory. Some physical symptoms include: shortness of breath, headaches, rapid heart beat, numbness, chest pain and unexplained weight gain or loss. The most widely used screening tool to detect postpartum depression is the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, a self-assessment tool used to evaluate mothers after childbirth.
Addressing the Issue As a future nurse, I would plan to address this issue by providing the optimal level of care to