Army Pregnancy and Postpartum Program (Policy Change)


Postpartum Depression

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Postpartum Depression is an extreme mood disorder that most new mothers experience after childbirth. "Baby blues," as most people may typically term it, evokes the feeling of emptiness, hopelessness, or sadness among females after delivery. However, these depressing feelings are usually not the anticipated part of being a mother.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), hospitals report at least one in 8 new mothers. For several women, the baby blues may last for 3 to 5 days (Office on Women Health). But, if it lasts longer than that or goes more than two weeks, the chances of a nursing mother having postpartum depression are high.

How About Women in the Army?

African Women Surmount Obstacles to Redefine Their Countries' Militaries |  Voice of America - English

Source; Voice of American

Females in the army are undoubtedly a group to be honored and be applauded for their courage, but sadly, this disorder does not exempt them. In the U.S, as of 2008 nearly 200, 000 women were serving in the army (Appolonio & Fingerhut, 2008).

Perinatal death triples the prevalence of postpartum depression among women  in Northern Uganda: A community-based cross-sectional study

Source; PLOS

The big issue is that military mothers have unique stressors compared to civilian mothers as they are constantly dealing with strenuous activities, military training, war, and fights.

Postpartum Depression in the Military

Source; postpartum support international

In a sample case documented in 2020, the number of military mothers diagnosed with PPD between January and December was 263. Females in the army may be hesitant to project emotional concerns for fear of facing occupational repercussions. In addition to these bottled emotions, they can feel torn between family and career demands. In this case, they may experience several challenges transitioning into motherhood.

How do you Know That You Have PPD? Depression clipart symptom depression, Picture #2596145 depression clipart  symptom depression

Source; WebstockReview

As a soldier, pregnancy and welcoming a new baby can be overwhelming due to personal and career reasons. But if you have the following symptoms after maybe 2 to 3, it is necessary to seek care:

· Crying excessively

· Severe anxiety and panic attack

· Feelings of hopelessness

· Lasting sad or "empty" feeling

· Feelings of irritability or restlessness

· Sleep difficulty or sleeping too much

· Thoughts of suicide attempts

· Loss of interest in activities

· Incapable of making simple decisions, concentrating, or recalling details.

How to Prevent?

Tips for Preventing Postpartum Depression - Burd Psychotherapy

Early preparation or prior knowledge on dealing with depression associated with pregnancy may go a long way in helping one avoid or lowering the risk of PPD. In addition, checking whether your family has a history of depression or mental illness is vital in preventing this condition.

As a soldier, it easier to be prone to alcohol consumption or cigarette smoking. However, suppose a military mother can avoid these two risk-taking habits, then well and good.

· Exercise

· sufficient sleep

· Nutritious diets are suitable components for reducing the risks of PPD. Lastly, enlisting a good support system during birthing is valuable.


3 Things You Should Know About Treatment for Psoriatic Arthritis – Health  Essentials from Cleveland Clinic

Source; health. Cleveland

Just like depression, PPD is treatable, and most mothers achieve excellent health after treatment. When seeking treatment, your care provider may require you to fill a checklist form to express your experiences. Then, depending on the completed question form, the care provider will suggest the treatment options.

Oral medications such as antidepressants or infusion medication over the course of three days, group therapy, and counseling will be effective depending on your symptoms


Appolonio, K. K., & Fingerhut, R. (2008). Postpartum depression in a military sample. Military Medicine, 173(11), 1085-1091.

Center of Disease Control. (n.d). Depression among Women. Retrieved from;

Office on Women Health. (n.d). Mental Health Conditions; Postpartum depression. Retrieved from;

Defining the Social Ecological Model:

Interpersonal Level

The birth of a child often brings about many feelings, many of which are overwhelming to a new mom. Postpartum depression (PPD) is present for many new mothers (Gavin et al.). Women may expect these symptoms to subside without treatment, which is generally the case for postpartum blues, a milder mood disruption within the first ten days after delivery. PPD is clinically defined as a condition that lasts for at least two weeks, creates significant impairment in functioning, and typically requires professional treatment. Investigative studies have determined that a women's childhood upbringing may play a role in PPD. If the woman had minimal emotional support during her upbringing, those same characteristics and traits might be projected and carried forward after the birth of her child. Other factors include prenatal depression, and the current support received in her personal and familial relationships. The quality of a mother's relationship and surrounding support system play a role in the risk for PPD.


Biological and Psychosocial Predictors of Postpartum Depression .... (2021). Retrieved on June

2, 2021, from