Moderately severe depressive illness can occur during the puerperium. The peak incidence appears to be at 3 months but with significant numbers of cases still appearing by 6 months and after.
It occurs after 10-15% of pregnancies.
The usual features are similar to non-psychotic depression appearing in women at any other time of life.
Possible causal factors include:
- previous psychiatric history
- poor marital relationship
- lack of social support
- stressful life events
- severe postnatal blues