London, Jan 23 : Health workers trained to take emotions more seriously may prevent depression among women during pregnancy and after giving birth, says a recent study.
Though having a baby is a joyful experience for most women, it is not unusual for new mothers to be hit by grief, anxiety and depression.
Global figures suggest that between 13 and 16 percent of women giving birth for the first time are struck by depression. For the second birth, figures reach a worrying 30-40 percent.
Kristin Akerjordet, associate professor at the University of Stavanger (UiS), Norway, surveyed 250 postnatal women for her doctoral thesis. Of the women she interviewed, half had experienced depressive emotions in connection with pregnancy and birth.
Akerjordet wanted to know what makes some people induce kindness in others. She says the answer is that this "factor x" is an amalgamation of emotional intelligence (EI) and professional knowledge.
EI is the ability to identify and manage the emotions of one’s self and others in a constructive manner. "The health services often fail to recognise women who suffer from postnatal depression or anxiety. Many of the women I interviewed had experienced rejection and a lack of understanding from health personnel," Akerjordet says.
"When such warm and considerate people are on the job, hospital units are usually calm. The units are often more turbulent, especially at night, when staff who don’t have these qualities are on duty," she explains.
Since 2006, the UiS has investigated ways in which the health services could improve safeguarding women’s mental health, says a UiS release.