Postpartum Depression-Distressing But Happens
Postpartum depression sometimes come unexpectedly. Everyone gets happy at the prospect of a successful delivery and subsequently expects a happy family afterwards. Sometimes things do not end up this way. One out of every five women in the world suffers from depression after childbirth. 80% of women become stressed after delivery.
The birth of a baby can trigger a jumble of powerful emotions, from excitement and joy to fear and anxiety. But it can also result in something you might not expect — depression.
Read more About Warning Signs of Depression during pregnancy
Similar To Normal Experiences
Granted, most new moms experience postpartum “baby blues” after childbirth, which commonly include mood swings, crying spells, anxiety and difficulty sleeping. Baby blues typically begin within the first two to three days after delivery, and may last for up to two weeks.
But in some new moms it is not that simple. They experience a more severe, long-lasting form of depression known as postpartum depression. Rarely, an extreme mood disorder called postpartum psychosis also may develop after childbirth.
To make it worse in most places,the happiness of the arrival of the child is so much absorbed in the family that no attention is paid to the mother. She wakes up day and night to attend to the child despite all her troubles. If she continues to go down the depth of depression in this manner, things would no doubt get worse and it will eventually affect everyone.
Symptoms Of Postpartum Depression
Signs and symptoms of depression after childbirth vary, and they can range from mild to severe. Before we talk about the symptoms proper, it would be nice to know the normal baby blues symptoms many new moms feel.
Baby blues symptoms
Signs and symptoms of baby blues — which last only a few days to a week or two after your baby is born — may include:
- Mood swings
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Reduced concentration
- Appetite problems
- Trouble sleeping
Having known this, lets see the symptoms of postpartum depression and how to differentiate both.
Postpartum depression symptoms
Postpartum depression may be mistaken for baby blues at first — but the signs and symptoms are more intense and last longer, and may eventually interfere with your ability to care for your baby and handle other daily tasks. Symptoms usually develop within the first few weeks after giving birth, but may begin earlier ― during pregnancy ― or later — up to a year after birth.
Postpartum depression signs and symptoms may include:
- Depressed mood or severe mood swings
- Excessive crying
- Difficulty bonding with your baby
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Loss of appetite or eating much more than usual
- Inability to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much
- Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy
- Reduced interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
- Intense irritability and anger
- Fear that you’re not a good mother
- Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt or inadequacy
- Diminished ability to think clearly, concentrate or make decisions
- Severe anxiety and panic attacks
- Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
Untreated, postpartum depression may last for many months or longer. and may develop into psychosis.
With postpartum psychosis — a rare condition that typically develops within the first week after delivery — the signs and symptoms are severe. Signs and symptoms may include:
- Confusion and disorientation
- Obsessive thoughts about your baby
- Hallucinations and delusions
- Sleep disturbances
- Excessive energy and agitation
- Attempts to harm yourself or your baby
Postpartum psychosis may lead to life-threatening thoughts or behaviours and requires immediate treatment.
Do you know that postpartum depression might not be limited to only women? Don’t be surprised, it also occurs in men. It is also called paternal postpartum depression. Lets talk about this briefly.
Postpartum depression in Men
New fathers may feel sad or fatigued. They may be overwhelmed with anxiety, or have changes in their usual eating and sleeping patterns.
Fathers who are young, have a history of depression, experience relationship problems or are struggling financially are most at risk of postpartum depression. This condition can have the same negative effect on partner relationships and child development as postpartum depression in mothers can.
Contributory Causes/Risk Factors
There’s no single cause of postpartum depression, but physical and emotional issues may play a role.
After childbirth, a dramatic drop in hormones (estrogen and progesterone) in your body may contribute to postpartum depression. Other hormones produced by your thyroid gland also may drop sharply — which can leave you feeling tired, sluggish and depressed.
When you’re sleep deprived and overwhelmed, you may have trouble handling even minor problems. You may be anxious about your ability to care for a newborn. You may feel less attractive, struggle with your sense of identity or feel that you’ve lost control over your life. Any of these issues can contribute to postpartum depression.
- If you have a history of depression, either during pregnancy or at other times
- History of bipolar disorder
- You have had postpartum depression after a previous pregnancy
- You have family history of depression or other mood disorders
- If you’ve experienced stressful events during the past year, such as pregnancy complications, illness or job loss
- If your baby has health problems or other special needs or the pregnancy was even unplanned or unwanted. Sometimes in juvenile pregnancy.
- If you have twins, triplets or other multiple births and you have financial problems.
- If you are having problems in your relationship with your spouse or significant other
Complications Postpartum Depression May Cause
Left untreated, postpartum depression can interfere with mother-child bonding and cause family problems.
- For mothers. Untreated postpartum depression can last for months or longer, sometimes becoming a chronic depressive disorder. Even when treated, postpartum depression increases a woman’s risk of future episodes of major depression.
- For fathers. Postpartum depression can have a ripple effect, causing emotional strain for everyone close to a new baby. When a new mother is depressed, the risk of depression in the baby’s father may also increase. And new dads are already at increased risk of depression, whether or not their partner is affected.
- For children. Children of mothers who have untreated postpartum depression are more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems, such as sleeping and eating difficulties, excessive crying, and delays in language development.
If you have a history of depression — especially postpartum depression — tell your doctor if you’re planning on becoming pregnant or as soon as you find out you’re pregnant.
- During pregnancy, your doctor can monitor you closely for signs and symptoms of depression. He or she may have you complete a depression-screening questionnaire during your pregnancy and after delivery. Sometimes mild depression can be managed with support groups, counseling or other therapies. In other cases, antidepressants may be recommended — even during pregnancy.
- After your baby is born, your doctor may recommend an early postpartum checkup to screen for signs and symptoms of postpartum depression. If you have a history of postpartum depression, your doctor may recommend antidepressant treatment or psychotherapy immediately after delivery.
Dont Forget These Tips
- Share your thoughts.
- Regular health check-up of prenatal and postnatal self and newborn health specialists.
- Exercise regularly.
- Give time to family, friends, and husband and keep in constant contact with them.
- Do not consume alcohol, smoking, and other intoxicants.
- Seek expert help immediately when negative thoughts come.
When You Must See A Doctor/Expert
Get help immediately if you have symptoms that suggest you may have postpartum psychosis. Call your doctor as soon as possible if the signs and symptoms of depression have any of these features:
- Don’t fade after two weeks
- Are getting worse
- Make it hard for you to care for your baby
- Make it hard to complete everyday tasks
- Include thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
If you have suicidal thoughts
If at any point you have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, you must immediately seek help from your partner or loved ones in taking care of your baby and call 911 or your local emergency assistance number to get help. You might also contact a minister, spiritual leader or someone else in your faith community (let your spouse know about this).
Our Final Thoughts
Postpartum depression isn’t a character flaw or a weakness, it is not a stigma or something to be ashamed of. It is simply a child birth complication. If you have postpartum depression, do not delay in getting prompt treatment to help you manage your symptoms and help you bond with your baby.
You might not the one primarily affected, but you can still be of immense help to your loved ones. Do not forget that people with depression may not readily admit that they’re depressed. If you suspect that a friend or loved one has postpartum depression or is developing postpartum psychosis, help them seek medical attention they need immediately. Don’t wait and hope for improvement.