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“I was very anxious”: one in 6 women suffers from depression after giving birth

A survey by Public Health France shows that thousands of women present “symptoms of postpartum depression two months after giving birth.” Results “concordant with international data on perinatal mental health.”

Thousands of women suffer from postpartum depression or postpartum depression every year. Unlike the “baby blues,” it occurs after childbirth and is often characterized by intense anxiety. Public Health France conducted a survey, published this Tuesday, on the prevalence of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts two months after the start of the postpartum period, the 6 weeks following pregnancy and childbirth.

More than 7,000 women who gave birth in a given week in March 2021 were interviewed. A first in France.

“In mainland France, in 2021, almost one in six women presented symptoms of postpartum depression two months after giving birth, just over a quarter of women had manifestations of anxiety and a little more, one in 20 women, reported having suicidal thoughts,” the agency indicates. he writes in his conclusions.

More than 100,000 women in 2021

“These results are in line with international data on perinatal mental health,” explains Public Health France in a press release. “They highlight the vulnerability of postpartum women with respect to psychiatric manifestations.”

Although the prevalence of depression two months after childbirth is 16.7% nationally, there are regional disparities, notes SpF. It is therefore “only” 11.4% in Burgundy-Franche-Comté, while it affects one in five women (21.7%) in Centre-Val de Loire. The South region (20.5%) and the Ile-de-France region (19.3%) are the territories where the prevalence is highest.

In 2021, 738,000 babies were born in France, which is 3,000 more births than in 2020 (+0.4%). Based on survey data released on Tuesday, we can estimate that more than 100,000 mothers suffered from postpartum depression two months after giving birth.

“Anxiety can be a completely normal phenomenon”

Sophie, 36, is one of the many women who suffered depression after her first birth in 2019. “During all the following weeks I was very anxious, many questions came back to me, I did not dare to be alone with my baby,” he tells BFMTV.

“Anxiety can be a completely normal phenomenon when a child arrives,” says Sarah Tebeka, a psychiatrist at the Louis Mourier hospital.

“When it becomes pathological it is because it prevents us from functioning. It is because we are no longer capable of doing things, we feel overwhelmed and it causes psychological suffering. This is where it should alert us,” he emphasizes, calling for us to talk about it “early, to not allowing a disease to take hold that could have harmful consequences.

In addition to the prenatal interview that has existed since 2020, a postnatal interview after childbirth has been mandatory since 2022 and should help detect postpartum depression.

Author: Ariel Guez
Source: BFM TV

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