postpartum depression among african women in united states







Postpartum Depression among African Women in United States

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Postpartum Depression among African Women in United States

Bearing a child could be the source of powerful emotions, ranging from excitement, joy, anger and even anxiety. However, such feelings may result into something which is highly undesirable, depression. Most of the women experience postpartum depression after child birth. It is commonly depicted by elements of mood swings, difficulty in sleeping and crying spells (Janice, 2009). This mostly begins two to three days after delivery and lasts up to three weeks. Other mothers experience such feelings in a more extensive manner, which results into postpartum depression in general. It is simply a birth complication and cannot be attributed to any form of weakness whatsoever. Prompt treatment can therefore, help manage such symptoms and enjoy mother hood. This paper discusses postpartum depression among African women in the United States.

One among five African women in the United Statessuffers postpartum depression. According to surveys, depressive symptoms are evident among new moms and this has been on the increase for a long period of time. From findings published on the Thursday’s Morbidity and mortality, which is a weekly report, research indicates that a majority of African women in the United States suffer from this problem. This is a publication of the United Statesoverall centers aimed at disease prevention and control among women. PRAMS (Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System) reveal that various pregnancies related issues have a role to play on the increase in postpartum stress among African women in the United States (Reuters, 2010). In collaboration with other health organization, this continues to be an issue of research for quite a long period of time in the nation.

In the year 2004 and 2005, more than 17 states in the US participated in PRAMS. Two major elements were discussed, with regard to postpartum depression in the survey and also, the issue of race and ethnicity, as well as the role this element played in the development of such a situation. Questionnaires were offered, where most women were required to state the number of times they have felt down, depressed and hopeless since the time they gave birth, and also, the number of times they have noticed the lack of interest or little interest in doing things (Sydney, 2003). In the event that answers like ‘always’ and ‘often’ are noted, this group of women were believed to have postpartum stress.

Of all the states studies in the two consecutive years, Maine was found to have the highest number of African women suffering from postpartum depression in the United States. The figures ranged between 17%-18%, while NewMexico was found to have the highest at 21%. Most African women suffer from postpartum depression in the United States due to three basic reasons. These include;

a)      The young age of new mothers

b)      Lower level of educational attainment

c)      Receipt of benefits with regards to medical care

In 13 of all the 16 states considered, white women were less likely affected by such problems. Women of other origins and ethnicities were rarely affected by postpartum depression (CDC, 2008). There are five possible risk factors which were identified according to surveys, which led to the increase in postpartum depression symptoms among African women living in the United States;

i)                    Use of tobacco during late pregnancy stages

ii)                  Physical abuse before and during pregnancy

iii)                Stress related to one’s partner before and during pregnancy

iv)                Financial stress

v)                  Exposure to trauma during pregnancy

Counseling and the use of antidepressants are the two major ways of treating postpartum stress for women after child birth. With counseling sessions, the mothers are able to open up about their lives and more so, the elements which have such negative impact on their lives as to lead to depression (Atwoli, 2011). In other words, with the embracement of counseling sessions, it becomes much easier to let go and develop new ways of dealing with situations rather than breaking into crying episodes, feelings of hopelessness and extreme anxiety. Using antidepressants cannot be relied on fully, considering the impacts in future. Counseling is therefore that most effective treatment approach for postpartum stress.

The overall purpose of this study was to describe the overall nature ofpostpartum depression, especially among African-American women. Two major methods were used in analyzing the data obtained from research, which basically involved twelve women who were victims of the same. They had been interviewed for two hours in to intervals. These methods include the Nudist-4 software and the Contact Comparative method in data analysis. Five major themes were developed and were perfect in explaining the PPD element. These include;

a)      Stressing out

b)      Feeling down

c)      Losing it

d)     Seeking help

e)      Feeling better

The last theme, which is ‘; dealing with it’ is the most emphasized especially among African American women. It has fora long time, represented the basic cultural ways in which African American mothers have been able to tackle their depression. The major belief is that there is need to keep the faith, by trying to be a strong black American woman, living with myths and sticking to secrets. Basically, depressive status of white American women is not known (APA, 2004). The most evident form of depression is in the case of African mothers, living in the United States. This research has therefore, managed to estimate and present the prevalence of postpartum depression of African American women, and at the same time, critically determines the involvement of racial and ethnic disparities on the issue.















Reuters Health. (2010). Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, April 10.Retrieved from  

Atwoli, L. (2011). Postpartum Depression. London: Cengage learning

Centre of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2008). Mental Health among Women of           Reproductive Age. London: Routledge publishers

American Psychological Association (APA). (2004). Postpartum Depression. Retrieved from:  

Sidney, W. (2003). Mental Health and Racial Involvement. New York: Cambridge press

Janice, L. (2009). Postpartum Depression, Treatment and Symptoms. New York: John Wiley and sons





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