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Is Postpartum Depression That Common?

Your body and mind are bound to go through numerous changes both during your pregnancy and after. It can be difficult to imagine that after 9 months of waiting maybe more if you were trying to conceive, it is possible to be unhappy and tired when your baby arrives. Feeling empty and emotionless longer than 2 weeks before or after you have had your baby could be postpartum depression. However, postpartum depression does not mean that you don’t love your baby. It is a mental health condition, and treatment can resolve it. Let’s learn more about it.




What is postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a type of depression that happens to a woman after the birth of a baby. It’s a relatively common and serious medical condition, affecting up to 1 in 7 new mothers after birth. It doesn't just affect the birthing person but It can also affect surrogates and adoptive parents, too. After giving birth people experience a mix of hormonal, physical, emotional, financial and social changes. These changes could cause symptoms of postpartum depression.


What are the symptoms of postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression can make you feel disconnected from your baby. You may feel as though you don’t love your baby. These feelings are not your fault. The symptoms include:

  • feeling overwhelmed

  • sleeping too much or too little

  • feeling sad or crying a lot

  • feeling anxious

  • having no energy or motivation

  • not having an interest in the baby

  • feeling worthless, guilty, or like you are a bad parent

  • having thoughts of hurting the baby or yourself

  • change in relationship with food

  • having chronic headaches, aches, pains, or stomach problems


Are there types of postpartum depression?

Yes! there are three different types of postpartum mood disorders:

1. The baby blues

It happens to as many as 70% of women in the days right after childbirth and lasts only a few hours or up to 1 to 2 weeks after delivery. If you're experiencing the baby blues, you will have frequent, prolonged bouts of crying for no apparent reason, sadness and anxiety. As unpleasant as it may be, you do not need treatment but joining a support group or speaking to other mothers could help.


2. Postpartum depression (PPD)

This is more serious than the baby blues. If you've had postpartum depression before, your risk increases to 30% each pregnancy. Symptoms range from mild to severe and may appear within a week of delivery or gradually, even up to a year later. You might experience frequent crying, irritability and fatigue, as well as feelings of guilt, anxiety and inability to care for your baby or yourself. While PPD is a serious condition, it can be treated with medication and counselling.


3. Postpartum psychosis

This Is an extremely severe form of postpartum depression and requires emergency medical attention. However, the condition is rare and affects only 1 in 1,000 women after delivery. Symptoms include severe agitation, confusion, feelings of hopelessness and shame, insomnia, paranoia, delusions or hallucinations, hyperactivity, rapid speech or mania.


Due to the nature of the condition, immediate medical attention is required as there’s an increased risk of suicide and harm to the baby.


What factors cause or increase the risk of postpartum depression?

It is not known for certain what causes postpartum depression but genetic and environmental factors also contribute:

  • Having a personal or family history of depression, postpartum depression or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

  • Limited social support.

  • Marital or relationship conflict.

  • Having mixed feelings about the pregnancy.

  • Pregnancy complications like health conditions, difficult delivery or premature birth.

  • You're younger than 20 or a single parent.

  • Having a baby with special needs or a baby who cries a lot.


How can it be treated?

PDD is treated differently, depending on the symptoms and how severe they are. Treatment options include anti-anxiety or antidepressant medicines, psychotherapy (talk therapy or cognitive behavioural therapy) and support group participation. In the case of postpartum psychosis, drugs used to treat psychosis are usually added. Hospital admission is also often necessary. If you are breastfeeding before taking any medicine for depression, anxiety or even psychosis talk to your doctor first.


Is there anything I can do to prevent it?

For those who have had a history of depression, tell your doctor as soon as you find out you’re pregnant, or if you’re planning to become pregnant.

  • During pregnancy - Your doctor can monitor your symptoms. You can manage mild depression symptoms with support groups, counselling, or other therapies. Your doctor may also prescribe medications, even while you’re pregnant.

  • After delivery - Your doctor may recommend an early postpartum checkup to look for symptoms of depression. The earlier you’re diagnosed, the earlier you can begin treatment.

Here’s how to manage after childbirth

Hope is not lost. There are a couple of things you can do to cope with bringing home a newborn:

  • Ask for help when you need it

  • Be realistic about your expectations for yourself and your baby.

  • Expect some good days and some bad days.

  • Exercise, within the limits; take a walk, and get out of the house for a break.

  • Follow a sensible diet; avoid alcohol and caffeine.

  • Foster the relationship with your partner -- make time for each other.

  • Keep in touch with family and friends -- don’t isolate yourself.

  • Limit visitors when you first go home.

  • Screen phone calls.

  • Start sleep training your newborn baby as soon as you get back home.

  • Sleep or rest when your baby sleeps.

Stay informed, stay in control We hope this helps. Do you have any other tips to share in the comments?


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