The symptoms of postpartum depression may appear at any time in the first year of a newborn's life, and may last weeks or even months.
A new research now reveals that persistent pain after childbirth may predict postpartum depression - even the woman's labour and subsequent delivery were not particularly painful.
While doctors for long knew that pain related to childbirth was linked to depression afterwards, they had not been about to specify what period of pain was most closely associated with the mental health condition.
The research carried out at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital have now uncovered that it is the post-birth period that needs special attention.
They advise that doctors need to make sure that women are not sent home to suffer in order to protect their physical and mental health.
The symptoms of postpartum depression may appear at any time in the first year of a newborn's life, and may last weeks or even months. However, the trajectory is different for everyone.
Postpartum depression, in many ways, resembles other forms of the mood disorder, with symptoms like deep general sadness and fatigue, but it can also cause women to feel violent toward themselves and their newborns.
The disorder can interfere with the ability of a woman and her child to bond, leading to poorer health outcomes for both.
Experts say that it is, in part,
Postpartum depression is in part caused by the dramatic hormonal shifts women experience during and following pregnancy, but that's made worse by the emotional rollercoaster and exhaustion of taking care of a new baby.
Doctors believe other factors, including how much physical pain a woman is in, contribute to whether or not she will develop postpartum depression. According the authors of the new study found, if a woman has a great deal of pain during her recovery after giving birth.
Complications such as tearing or wounds left by a caesarean section have a greater than expected impact.
According to Assistant Professor Dr Jie Zhou, who led the study from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, said that the research suggests doctors need to focus more on helping new mothers manage pain after the baby is born.
The findings were presented by the American Society of Anesthesiologists in San Francisco.