Teaching Optimism During Pregnancy: A Possible Protective Practice Against Postpartum Depression [15L]

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION:

Transitioning into motherhood can render women more vulnerable to anxiety and depressive symptoms. Postpartum Depression (PPD) impacts between 10% and 26% of women worldwide. Pre-existing depression and anxiety, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, marital status, social relationships and support systems can be predisposing factors. Depressive outlooks also have adverse physical effects on infants that appear to increase the risk of preterm births or low birth weight, as well as negatively impact the mother's relationships. This review evaluated whether optimistic practices during pregnancy may decrease the risk of postpartum depression.

METHODS:

A literature review using standard search engines retrieved 16 scholarly articles and journals devoted to mental health and postpartum depression.

RESULTS:

Data suggest that women who exhibit optimism in the antepartum period appear to be at a decreased risk of postpartum depression. Since preliminary research suggests that optimism during pregnancy may act as coping and defense mechanisms, perhaps antepartum education should focus on teaching this practice, which may result in fewer pregnant women developing PPD. In fact, optimism educational practices may have even greater efficacy if the woman has a positive outlook before she becomes pregnant.

CONCLUSION:

Optimism, which can be enhanced through education, may play a role in contributing to an overall healthy pregnancy and the postpartum experience. Clinicians should consider teaching pregnant women, the benefits of optimism. This can have great benefits not only for women faced with the possibility of postpartum depression, but also for their babies, families, and relationships.

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