The perceptions of health care providers of postpartum depression, mothers, and their families: A qualitative study



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Postpartum depression is considered a medical condition that should be taken in a severe manner (Tovino, 2009). This form of depression may impact all women who have given birth regardless of demographics, environment, or socioeconomic status (Andrews, Thomson, & Rayner, 2009). This study investigated research that focused on the perceptions of healthcare providers of postpartum depression for mothers and their respective families through a qualitative, phenomenological approach. The researcher conducted in-depth interviews in the North Texas region with nine health care providers in order to understand their perceptions of postpartum depression. From the 12 questions asked, seven themes emerged from this study, including the dangers of postpartum depression, hormone balances that contribute to depression, how postpartum depression is no respecter of person, feelings of self-devaluation that occur, fears of disclosure, internal and external support, and environmental factors. The reoccurring themes during the interviews quintessentially supported the idea that external factors play a significant role in contributing to postpartum depression. Each participant stated that family support is imperative for a mother that is experiencing postpartum depression symptoms. If family support is not available, the new mother needs to seek places such as the church or support groups for assistance. In the future, if the phenomenon of postpartum depression is viewed from a systems perspective, health care providers must screen mothers to see if they have a likelihood of experiencing postpartum depression before they give birth. If the preliminary screening revealed that the patient could potentially be at high risk for postpartum depression, precautions could be taken at that time.



Postpartum depression, Healthcare providers