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. 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.
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