Over the course of one’s life, the vast majority of people experience both times of elation and sadness. Life is filled with an unpredictable series of these peaks and valleys. When one continues to experience valleys of sadness over a prolonged period of time without implementation of proper coping skills to catapult them into a more neutral space, these individuals are at risk for depression. Depression is described as overwhelming feelings of sadness coupled with the loss of interest in otherwise pleasurable activities. Although depression can occur at any point across the lifespan, the effects of this illness is of particular concern when it occurs during the post-partum period (Buist, 1998).
Postpartum depression is experienced by an estimated 20% of women after having given birth. It is characterized by excessive feelings or worry, sadness, and fatigue related to psychological adjustments and hormonal fluctuations after pregnancy. Unlike the baby blues, these feelings don’t easily resolve in a few days or weeks. Instead they linger on for months and sometimes years. Because an infant’s ability to form healthy bonds with his Mother occurs within the first few hours to months of his life, it is important that Moms are both physically and emotionally healthy (Buist, 1998). With this in mind, it seems only natural to want be able to identify women that are at risk for postpartum depression prior to delivery. This very important concept lead me to select my PICOT question.
My PICOT question is: Are women who have experienced physical, emotional or sexual abuse, compared with those who have not, at risk for developing postpartum depression within 3 years after childbirth?
Based on my limited research, studies suggest that there may be a correlation between the two. I intend to investigate how the two correlate. Furthermore, it is my objective to identify how to best screen these expecting Moms as well as to identify best practices based on EBR to facilitate the return of their physical and emotional health. After all, these two components play an integral part in a mother’s ability to actively participate in the mother-child bonding process that has proven to be instrumental in healthy childhood development.