As Depression Awareness Week begins, natal psychotherapist Lori Fitzgerald has claimed that the treatment available for sufferers of Post Natal Depression (PND) is inadequate with too much reliance on prescription medication.
In a statement, released by the Fertility and Birth Network (FAB), Fitzgerald questions the blanket use of antidepressants asking whether a more holistic nurturing approach would be more beneficial.
Psychotherapist Lori, who founded FAB, also claims that many GPs are unsure about working with women who have PND leading them to over-prescribe medications.
“Postnatal depression lasts on average 3 to 6 months, with good therapeutic support it’s less, yet I am seeing women who have been on antidepressants for up to 10 years and are still being ‘written off’ as being postnatally depressed. I find this deeply shocking.” She says in the report.
She also recommends new mums are supported by their families in taking some time to connect with their baby, prioritising skin-to-skin contact within the first 12 weeks, claiming this “increases the feel good hormones that we need to bond with our baby”
This report, somewhat controversially, asserts that women who are drug free find it easier to combat PND through therapeutic practice. “I feel angry at the injustice of this on behalf of the women who haven’t been supported to understand PND and have been potentially falsely informed that they have no control over how they feel,” Says Fitzgerald.
PND is thought to affect around 15% of women after giving birth, and symptoms can include feeling low and unhappy, tearfulness, irritability, tiredness, insomnia, appetite changes, loss of interest in sex, negative or guilty thoughts and anxiety.
For more information and advice, read our guide to the facts about Post Natal Depression, discover how to spot the signs, and learn more about the new proposals set to help combat PND