Have you been going through baby blues for more than a week? Though it is just natural to experience anxiety and sadness soon after delivery, if you are not feeling better soon, it is time to consider whether you have postpartum depression.
What Is Postpartum Depression?
A specific mood disorder which affects women after childbirth, refers to postpartum depression. The affected person might feel an extreme sense of sadness along with anxiety and exhaustion, together making life miserable.
The exact causes of postpartum depression are unknown. A combination of socio-psychological reasons can cause the depression, like the ones below.
- Prepartum depression
- Obstetrical complications
- Hormonal changes like thyroid dysfunction
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
- Prolonged baby blues and anxiety
- Constant sleep deprivation
- Chemical changes that trigger mood swings
- Insufficient rest after delivery (1)
Some of the most prominent symptoms a woman with postpartum depression may experience are:
- Prolonged bouts of sadness
- Inexplicable anxiety or worry
- Restlessness and inability to sleep
- Cognitive dysfunction
- Detached feeling from normal life
- Overeating or eating less
- Having trouble in bonding with the baby
- Fears of harming herself or the baby (2)
Not all women are likely to suffer from postpartum depression. But the presence of one or more risk factors makes the following women more potential candidates than the others.
- Women who have inadequate social support.
- Those who were previously diagnosed with psychological problems before and during pregnancy.
- Women who had to undergo a stressful event in life during or immediately after pregnancy.
- Persons with medical complications at the time of delivery.
- Women who had mixed feelings about becoming pregnant per se.
- Those who are having problems with alcohol addiction and drug abuse.
Importance Of Getting Treated:
It is a common phenomenon to leave postpartum depression untreated by confusing it for baby blues. However, doctors argue, untreated depression can last for months or even years. It will gradually result in the mother’s inability to establish a smooth relationship with her baby. Eventually, the baby is likely to suffer from eating, sleeping and behavioral disorders. (3)
Postpartum Depression And Baby Blues:
While ‘baby blues’ refer to a milder form of worries and anxieties a woman is likely to have after childbirth, postpartum depression is more serious in nature. With the newborn baby fully dependent on its mother for existence, it is natural for the mother to feel full of responsibilities. The fact that you are just recovering from an intensely laborious experience like childbirth adds to the trauma. Therefore, it is natural for new mothers to develop baby blues.
However, postpartum depression is an intensely disturbing form of “baby blues” that almost impairs the affected from doing her daily activities. While baby blues heal on their own in a short span of time, postpartum depression takes a longer time to make you feel better. With 10-15% mothers experiencing postpartum depression shortly (mostly, a week or month) after childbirth, it is important for the affected person to seek medical assistance.(4)
A one-to-one direct conversation with an experienced psychologist or therapist can tremendously help an affected person. She can open up her feelings and find ways to solve her problems. The two types of counseling one can opt from are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Interpersonal Therapy (IT). While the former helps in recognizing and correcting negative thoughts, the latter helps the practitioner understand and work through problematic personal relationships.
Antidepressant medications are usually the treatment option available to regulate mood disorders. However, it is important for a breastfeeding mother to check the safety regulations before administering them.
In acute cases, some women completely abstain from eating, have serious trouble in sleeping and become frantic or paranoid. It is a more serious condition of postpartum depression, and such women should be immediately hospitalized. (5)
Carefully go through the symptoms of postpartum depression and ensure your baby blues are not reasons to worry. Have you been a victim of postpartum depression? If yes, tell us more on how you could overcome the trauma?
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