Published on Mar 25, 2019 - 5 min read
Postpartum depression (PPD) or postnatal depression is a kind of depression that affects a new mother. 80 % of all new moms experience baby blues, but if the symptoms are severe and it starts affecting your ability to care for your baby, then it is a sign of postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression (PPD) or postnatal depression is a kind of depression that affects a new mother. 80 % of all new moms experience baby blues, but if the symptoms are severe and it starts affecting your ability to care for your baby, then it is a sign of postpartum depression. The symptoms usually start within the first week of giving birth, but some women show signs during pregnancy or up to a year after childbirth.
It is normal to have mood swings, crying spells, anxiety, and sleep problems in the first few weeks after delivery, but if you are depressed for a longer time, then prompt treatment is needed. Early identification and treatment of such depression will help manage the symptoms and help the mother bond with her baby better. It is a psychological illness that can be effectively treated with the help of medications and counseling.
It is a very common problem, and 1 in 9 new mothers suffer from this depression.
The symptoms of baby blues last only for a couple of days to weeks after childbirth. These symptoms include.
Physical and emotional causes seem to play a role in PPD. These factors are:
The sudden drop of hormones estrogen and progesterone after childbirth.
If not detected early and treated, symptoms of PPD might last for many months or longer. Some of the commonly seen symptoms are:
The risk of PPD increases with the following conditions:
Seek medical help if you feel
Your healthcare provider will diagnose the condition after talking to you about your feelings and thoughts and evaluating your overall mental health. He or she might tell you to fill a questionnaire, which is part of the depression screening. Blood test might be required to check the levels of thyroid and to rule out other conditions that might cause depression.
Postpartum psychosis is a rare psychological disorder that develops after a few weeks after delivery. These symptoms lead to life-threatening thoughts and behavior, thus early recognition of this condition is crucial. The signs and symptoms are:
If you feel you are suffering from baby blues, try the following things:
Your symptoms might go away within 2 weeks, if not, then it might be postpartum depression.
Usually, PPD is treated with the help of psychotherapy or antidepressants or a combination of both. The following antidepressants are used:
Sometimes, hormone therapy is given if the estrogen levels are very low.
Postpartum psychosis is treated in the hospital with the help of drugs like antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and benzodiazepines. In severe cases, ECT (electroconvulsive therapy), which is a procedure where small electrical currents are passed through the brain to trigger brief seizures, is used. This causes changes in brain chemistry and reduces the symptoms of psychosis.
Yes, PPD can be seen in fathers too, and it is called paternal postpartum depression. They have the same symptoms as mothers. Young fathers or fathers who have a relationship and financial problems are at risk. Treatment is the same as that for mothers.
PPD is a very common condition seen after childbirth. It creates negative thoughts and feelings about yourself, people around you, your situation, and also your future. With proper care and treatment, this can be changed. If you want to know more about postpartum depression and how it can affect your life, consult a psychiatrist online.
There are varied causes of postpartum depression. The most significant among the list is the immediate decrease in many hormones. This occurs in a woman following childbirth. Other causes are:
- Depression during pregnancy.
- Previous history of depression.
- Family history of mood disorders.
- Complications during pregnancy.
The preventive measures that can be taken to prevent postpartum depression are as follows:
- Joining support groups that involve new mothers.
- Patient education.
- Seeking support from maternal and baby related health care providers.
The duration of postpartum depression varies from one person to another. The regulation of hormones might differ from one person to another. The symptoms of postpartum depression last from a range of periods between six months to one year. In rare cases, it exceeds more than a year. If your depressive state lasts for a longer duration, you should consult your physician immediately.
Postnatal depression is usually referred to as “BABY BLUES,” which is a depression that begins in childbirth but does not last more than two weeks, but postpartum depression extends to a longer period than postnatal. It might be for about six months to one year.
It is not that all the women have postpartum depression. Postpartum is usually referred to as the period a mother takes to recover from childbirth, which is usually said to be 48 days from the date of childbirth. If it is for a short period of time, it is not that harmful. If it exists for a prolonged duration, then you should consult your doctor.
The important tips in taking care of a mother undergoing postpartum period are as follows:
- Adequate rest.
- Good care of the wound should be ensured. This is done to prevent
- infections if it was a C-section.
- Good nutritious food.
- Get some good sunlight exposure.
- Try to sleep whenever the baby sleeps.
- If any abnormal or uncomfortable symptoms are seen, rush to the doctor.
Consulting the health care provider is important. The most common solution would be corticosteroids like Hydrocortisone. It is necessary to soak the anal region with warm water. Consuming stool softeners and smoothies to prevent pain during defecation is also helpful. High fiber diet and increased hydration are also essential.
Postpartum hemorrhoids are more common with women who underwent vaginal delivery. The symptoms seen in women are rectal itching, pain on defecation, a swelling near the anus, and severe fresh red bleeding after defecation.
Postpartum depression usually resolves by itself with good care and treatment. It might take six months to one year. But if left untreated, it might even prolong to so many years. So, adequate medical care and patient education are important.
Postpartum hemorrhage is very common, about 10% of new mothers face postpartum depression. Even the condition is very common still, patient education and awareness are less common, which is very important to reduce the prevalence of the condition. If you feel hard to cope up with it, you should visit your doctor.
Being supportive and understanding is one of the major ways that will help a postpartum mother overcome her depression. If symptoms progress and are affecting the mom, informing the health care provider for essential treatment is warranted.
If symptoms of depression even continue after two weeks on a daily basis and are persistent, it confirms the diagnosis of postpartum depression. It might even start during pregnancy, but diagnosis can be confirmed only after the second week of childbirth.
Adequate medical treatment, counseling, nutritious food, good rest, and the support of family and loved ones are the different ways to overcome postpartum depression. Psychotherapy and talk therapy might help.
With poor or no medical treatment, postpartum depression might even prolong up to many years that might even affect the health and development of the baby due to the poor psychosocial bonding between mother and baby.
Postpartum depression might start anywhere from the second week to the twelfth week. However, there is no accurate time about how soon it might resolve. It might be different for each mother. But once it occurs, the changes might be notable for the family members.
Natural remedies might be used to treat postpartum depression-like as follows:
- Vitamin foods like flax seeds, chia seeds, salmon can be consumed.
- Herbal supplements.
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