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One in seven new mothers suffers from post partum depression according to Dr. Afua Mintah, an obstetrician/gynecologist at St. Mary Medical Center in Langhorne. She says women who have experienced depression in the past or are experiencing problems during pregnancy are at higher risk for post partum depression. If you notice a new mom experiencing severe sadness, difficulty sleeping, concentrating or getting motivated, you might want to suggest a trip to the doctor.

Overall, it is more common for women to experience depression than for men. Dr. Mintah says females are twice as likely as males to suffer the blues, *partly due to hormonal changes*. Levels of estrogen and progesterone rise and fall at different stages of life, including during menstruation, childbirth and menopause. She urges patients to combat the mood swings with a healthy lifestyle, eating healthy food, exercising regularly and maintaining good overall health.

When depression can’t be controlled without help, there are treatments and medications which can be effective. Meditation, exercise and herbal remedies may make a difference and are often the first line of defense. Still,  some women will require prescription medications and therapy with a psychiatrist or psychologist in order to lift the depression.

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