1Pediatra di famiglia, Torino
2Pediatra di famiglia, Carmagnola (Torino)
3Responsabile Unità semplice di Neonatologia, Ospedale Agnelli, Pinerolo (Torino)
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Key words: Depression, Post-partum depression, Mother-child relationship, Child mental development
Post-partum depression is frequent: it affects about 10% of mothers but it is not always recognized and treated. It is a particular type of depression, whose characteristics are described in the present work. Post-partum depression, which very often starts 2 months after the delivery, is of interest for paediatricians because of the consequences that it may have on child development, since it alters the capacities of the mother to get the signals of her child and to answer them properly. The mental development of the child may be hindered, causing disorders of the relational, emotional, behavioural and cognitive development. However, some studies report also possible damages to the physical health. Since there are some problems in the realization of a generalized screening of the post-partum depression, it is the paediatrician’s task to recognize depressed mothers, who are often unaware of or do not speak about their condition. The paediatrician can detect the problem by observing the mother and the type of mother-child relationship, but also highlighting their difficulties to relate. Particular attention shall be paid to some characteristics of the breast-fed child, such as irritability, hyper-motricity as well as the mother’s incapacity to put limits, which may induce the depression in the mother.
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