Baby blues are normal in new moms as worry, self-doubt, stress, and fatigue frequently tinker their emotional state. Sleep deprivation and lack of self-care in the face of new responsibilities result in a jumble of intense feelings. However, if symptoms linger on and worsen instead of resolving on their own, you could be suffering from postpartum depression (PPD).
Learn about postpartum depression, its causes, risk factors, common symptoms, and the treatment methods.
What is Postpartum Depression?
Clinical depression following childbirth is known as postpartum depression. About one in eight mothers develop the psychological disorder after giving birth to their children. While the lack of treatment worsens the condition prolonging suffering for months, this puts patients at the increased risk developing major depression later in the life.
Postpartum depression may impact mothers anytime within a year of childbirth. The American Psychiatric Association warns that symptoms may also appear early in the pregnancy. However, in most cases, it begins around the third week following the childbirth.
Postpartum depression is not limited to first-time moms. It may affect anyone after childbirth. A woman may not have it at the time of her first child, but she develops after having the second or third child. Many have it at the time of the first child, but not after the second or third one. In the same way, a woman may also suffer from the depressive disorder after giving birth to a child every time.
Postpartum Depression Symptoms
When you have six or more of the following signs visible daily for more than two weeks, you should seek treatment for postpartum depression.
- Unable to bond with child or partner
- Feeling of sadness, emptiness, hopelessness, or worthlessness
- Increasingly finding solace in crying
- Failure to care for baby
- Lack of interest in habits that earlier keep you busy
- Loss of interest or lack of enjoyment in your usual activities and hobbies
- Sleep deprivation at night
- Restlessness during the day
- Unintentional weight gain or loss
- Loss of appetite and severe mood swings
- Avoiding family and friends
- Irritation, susceptible to anger
- Lack of self-care and increasingly preference for isolation and loneliness
- Delusional thoughts or hallucinations
Reasons for Postpartum Depression
- Physical: Changes in the body after childbirth is thought to trigger depression. The sharp drop in hormones after childbirth contributes to sluggish and tired mood. As a result, you move to a depressive state with psychological factors playing a role.
- Psychological: When new responsibilities overwhelm a mother, it negatively affects her emotional state too. Struggle and stress lead to anxiety, fatigue, sleeplessness, and depression.
Postpartum Depression and Clinical Depression
PPD occurs only after childbirth and is caused by an intermix of emotional and environmental factors while post-delivery hormonal changes too contribute. Clinical depression may occur anytime and it is associated only with psychological factors.
Postpartum Depression and Baby Blues
With new responsibilities following the childbirth, it is usual to turn anxious, become short-tempered, remain overwhelmed, and suffer from mood swing after childbirth. This is known as baby blues. However, unlike PPD, this resolves on its own within two weeks.
When the symptoms persist for more than two weeks, it becomes postpartum depression.
Postpartum Depression Risk Factors
- History of depression
- Depression during pregnancy
- Preexisting psychological disorders
- Postpartum depression after the first child
- Pregnancy complications
- Relationship or family issues or domestic violence
- Financial or employment problems
- Unplanned pregnancy
- traumatic or premature childbirth
- Stressful lifestyle or events
- Defective baby birth
- Family history of psychiatric problems
Do I Need Treatment for Postpartum Depression?
You must seek medical treatment if symptoms continue to persist for more than two weeks. Failing to overcome postpartum depression may worsen patient’s emotional state and she may slip into deep depression. The rippling effect may affect the care for the baby. Another fall out is rising tension in the family due to your depressive behavior. Children face emotional and behavioral problems, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. They may also suffer from cognitive and language development issues.
Postpartum Depression Treatment
- Self-care for mild symptoms arguably is the best treatment. The problem can be contained with a regulated lifestyle if addressed at the onset.
- Psychotherapy is another helpful method. It helps develop stronger emotional resistance to depression and overcome it. Patients may attend counseling seasons, behavioral classes, and undergo talk therapy.
- Medical treatment is mainly limited to prescribing antidepressants that help control brain chemicals responsible for mood regulation. However, antidepressants have side effects that may impact the breastfed baby altering his sleep pattern and behavior. Electroconvulsive therapy or administration of electrical currents electrical currents is an option for those with severe postpartum depression.
Tips To Cope With Postpartum Depression
- Above all, focus on yourself and take utmost care of your physical and mental state. Sleep and eat adequately.
- Avoid feeling guilty, despair, and worthless. You are a mother now and have to be healthy enough to yourself so that you can nourish and look after your baby.
- Try to remain intimate with your baby and the partner. Also develop strong bonding with friends, neighbors, and family members.
- Don’t make high expectations. Plan you work and work your plan while avoiding events leading to anxiety or apprehension.
- Join support groups in person or online. Remain engaged with social media groups. Of course, seek support from partner, family, and friends. By and large share your feelings with them.
- Don’t ignore your physical care. A strong physique is important to psychological wellbeing. Start self-care from pre-pregnancy days with proper diet.
- Put your baby before everything. Avoid stress and remain confined to your joy of motherhood.
- Stay fit and active with regular exercise.
Ravneet also blogs at www.wellnessguide.com