Postpartum Depression

All You Need to Know About Postpartum Depression

Your body and mind are experiencing a lot of changes during and after pregnancy. If you feel depressed, emotional, or empty for more than 2 weeks during or after pregnancy, get treatment. If you feel like you’re not in love with your child, then postpartum depression can be diagnosed. Depressive care, such as therapy or medications, works and will help you and your baby to be as healthy as possible in the future.

What is postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression is a mood disorder that may conflict with a mother’s ability to take care of herself or her child after childbirth. This varies from baby blues, which usually starts within the first two or three days after birth and will extend up to two weeks. As depression continues beyond this stage, it is known as postpartum depression. Postpartum is the most vulnerable time for a woman to develop a medical disorder. It is important to remember that symptoms can begin during pregnancy or up to one year after birth.

About 15 % of women experience severe depression after childbirth. The percentages are also higher for women who are also dealing with poverty, which may be twice as high for teenage parents. 10% of all women suffer from pregnancy depression. Postpartum depression is the most prevalent complication during childbirth. 

Risk Factors

It’s essential to know the risk factors for postpartum depression. Research shows that all of the things listed below put you at a higher risk of developing these diseases. If you have any of these issues, you can discuss them with your health care provider so that you can plan your care ahead of time if you need to.

  • Women with a history of depression, anxiety problems, or severe mood disorders are 30 to 35% more likely to experience postpartum depression.
  • If a woman has experienced postpartum depression with previous childbirth, she is 10 to 50 % more likely to experience it again.
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD or PMS)
  • Insufficient support for the care of the child
  • Financial pressure
  • Marital stress
  • Pregnancy, delivery, or breastfeeding complications
  • A recent big life event: loss, home transfers, work loss
  • Moms with multiple children
  • Mothers of children in Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU)
  • Mothers who have been treated for a miscarriage
  • Women with an imbalance within the thyroid
  • Women with a form of diabetes (type 1, type 2, or gestational).)

What are the signs and symptoms of Postpartum Depression?

You could have postpartum depression if you have five or more signs or symptoms that last longer than two weeks. Signs of disease are things that someone else can notice or know about like you’ve got a rash or you’re coughing. Symptoms are things that you feel that others can’t see, like having a sore throat or feeling dizzy.

Signs and symptoms of POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION:

Changes in your feelings:

  • Felt depressed most of the day.
  • Feeling embarrassment, guilt, or failure
  • Feeling afraid or panicked a lot of time
  • Serious mood swings
  • Changes in your everyday life:
  • Showing no interest in activities that you usually want to do
  • Felt tired all the time
  • Eating more or less than is usual
  • Adding or losing weight;
  • Having trouble sleeping or having too much sleep
  • Having difficulties concentrating or making decisions

Changes in how you think of yourself or your child:

  • Having problems communicating with your child
  • Think about hurting yourself or your kid
  • Think about suicide (killing yourself)

Immediately contact the health care provider if you suspect you have signs or symptoms of postpartum depression. There are things that you and your provider should do to make you feel better.

What causes the Postpartum Depression?

Researchers are not sure what causes postpartum depression. After having a child, it may happen. Possible causes may include:

  • Genes: Genes are part of your body’s cells that store instructions for how your body develops and works. Genes are passed on from parents to children. Depression is more prevalent in people whose family members have depression. It’s called a family history of depression.
  • Changing hormone levels after pregnancy: Hormones are chemical in the body. Some of them help you control your thoughts and mood. Your body has higher levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy. But in the first 24 hours after birth, these hormones quickly return to normal levels. This rapid drop in hormone levels may contribute to postpartum depression.
  • Low levels of thyroid hormones: Thyroid is a gland in your neck that helps your body use and stores food energy.

Treatment for postpartum depression

Call your health care provider right away if you any symptoms mentioned above. Your provider can be the following:

  • One who provides prenatal care:  This is the provider that gave you medical care during pregnancy.
  • Your primary health care provider: This is your main health care provider who offers you general medical care.
  • Provider of mental health:  He may be a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a social worker, a consultant, or a therapist.

To figure out if you are suffering from postpartum depression, the doctor asks you about your feelings. He wants to know if you have a problem with your feelings on how you care about yourself and your child. You may be asked to fill out a form called a depression screening questionnaire. Your responses on the way will help you figure out whether you have postpartum depression.

Your provider can conduct tests to see if you have any other health problems that can contribute to postpartum depression. For example, thyroid hormones may be tested. Low levels of thyroid hormones can lead to postpartum depression.

The faster you see your healthcare provider, the better. You should start treatment so that you can take proper care of yourself and your child.

Treatment can include:

  • Therapy: Such as CBT and IPT
  • Helping groups: There are communities of people who meet or go online to discuss their feelings and experiences on such topics. Ask your doctor to help you locate a support group.
  • Medicine:  Postpartum depression is often treated with medication.

Medicines for the treatment of POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION include:

  • Antidepressants:   There are medicines used to treat many forms of depression, including postpartum depression. Some have side effects, such as the dry mouth or weight gain. And some of them aren’t safe to take if you’re breastfeeding. Speak to the provider to find out if one of these medicines is right for you.
  • Strogen: This hormone plays an important part in the menstrual and pregnancy cycles. The level of estrogen in your body drops quickly during childbirth. Your physician can prescribe that you wear an estrogen patch on your skin to replace the estrogen your body has lost.

Tips on self-care

During and after pregnancy, you may take steps. These steps may help you to avoid or treat postpartum depression. Strategies may include:

  • Having a balanced diet and having daily exercise
  • Maintain all medical appointments and follow-up on health concerns
  • To take small meals daily to control blood sugar levels
  • At least 8 hours of sleep every day.
  • Planning, during pregnancy, to alleviate postpartum depression.
  • To speak openly to loved ones about feelings and concerns;
  • Staying in contact with friends and family, especially if you’re parenting alone.

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