Newborns may slip into depression too: Doctors | health and fitness | Hindustan Times
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Newborns may slip into depression too: Doctors

Physical and mental well-being of babies with mothers battling postpartum depression could be compromised if the condition is not diagnosed and treated, said doctors.

health and fitness Updated: Jun 12, 2015 17:23 IST
Priyanka Vora
Newborns

Physical and mental well-being of babies with mothers battling postpartum depression could be compromised if the condition is not diagnosed and treated, said doctors.

When treating postpartum depression, doctors as well the society needs to understand the impact of depression on a child’s health. “The biggest concern is lactation. The mother stops breastfeeding the child, which affects immunity and puts the child at risk of recurrent infections and malnutrition,” said Dr Samir Dalwai, developmental paediatrician from Goregaon.

Dalwai recalled cases where the father and other family members blamed the baby when a new mother harmed herself. “It is not just the maternal mental health we need to focus on. The entire period from conception to childbirth and postnatal period, the mother and the child’s mental health has to be monitored closely,” he said, adding that participation of the father improves the treatment outcomes.

Psychiatrist Dr Dayal Mirchandani a g rees with Dalwai. “When mothers are in depression, they don’t play or talk to the children thus affecting their development. The newborns may slip into depression too. They are also more likely to develop depression later in life.”

The biggest concern is the possibility of abuse babies face. “We have handled cases where the mother has hit the baby, ” said Dr Mirchandani, adding that consumption of Omega 3 fatty acids reduces the risk of postpartum depression and psychosis.