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HealthPostpartum Depression: Everything You Need To Know

Postpartum Depression: Everything You Need To Know

Lifeland Team

source: abovewhispers.com

Having a baby is stressful—no matter how long you've looked forward to it or how much you love your child. Considering the sleep deprivation, new responsibilities, and lack of time for yourself, it's no surprise that a lot of new moms feel like they're on an emotional rollercoaster.
At first, those feelings are perfectly normal, they are called Baby Blues but if your symptoms don't go away after a few weeks or get worse, you may be suffering from postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression (PPD), also called postnatal depression, is a form of clinical depression that can affect women, and less frequently men, typically after childbirth.
In fact, postpartum depression and the baby blues share many symptoms, including mood swings, crying jags, sadness, insomnia, and irritability. The difference is that with postpartum depression, the symptoms are more severe (such as suicidal thoughts or an inability to care for your newborn) and longer lasting.

Signs And Symptoms Of Postpartum Depression

In the beginning, postpartum depression can look like the normal baby blues. You might find yourself withdrawing from your partner or being unable to bond well with your baby.
You might find your anxiety out of control, preventing you from sleeping - even when your baby is asleep - or eating appropriately.
You might find feelings of guilt or worthlessness overwhelming or begin to develop thoughts preoccupied with death or even wish you were not alive.
These are all red flags for postpartum depression.

Causes Of Postpartum Depression

  • Hormonal changes: After childbirth, women experience a big drop in estrogen and progesterone hormone levels. Thyroid levels can also drop, which leads to fatigue and depression. These rapid hormonal changes—along with the changes in blood pressure, immune system functioning, and metabolism that new mothers experience—may trigger postpartum depression.

  • Physical changes. Giving birth brings numerous physical and emotional changes. You may be dealing with physical pain from the delivery or the difficulty of losing the baby weight, leaving your insecure about your physical and sexual attractiveness.

  • Stress: The stress of caring for a newborn can also take a toll. New mothers are often sleep deprived. In addition, you may feel overwhelmed and anxious about your ability to properly care for your baby. These adjustments can be particularly difficult if you’re a first-time mother who must get used     to an entirely new identity.

How To Know If You Are Suffering From Postpartum Depression

The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale, a standardized self-reported questionnaire, may be used to identify women who have postpartum depression. If the new mother scores more than 13, she is likely to develop PPD.
These include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Sadness                                                          
  • Hopelessness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Guilt
  • A feeling of being overwhelmed
  • Sleep and eating disturbances
  • Inability to be comforted
  • Exhaustion
  • Emptiness
  • Social withdrawal
  • Low or no energy
  • Becoming easily frustrated
  • Feeling inadequate in taking care of the baby
  • Impaired speech and writing
  • Spells of anger towards others
  • Increased anxiety or panic attacks
  • Decreased sex drive

 

Risk Factors

While the causes of PPD are not understood, a number of factors have been identified as predictors of PPD: Birth-related psychological trauma, Formula feeding rather than breast-feeding, A history of depression, Cigarette smoking, Low self esteem, Childcare stress, Prenatal depression during pregnancy, Prenatal anxiety, Low social support, Life stress, Poor marital relationship, Maternity blues, Single Marital Status, Low socioeconomic status and Unplanned/unwanted pregnancy.

Prevention

If you are pregnant, you may be able to decrease your risk of postpartum depression by preparing yourself before the birth for the changes in lifestyle that motherhood will bring. Talk to other mothers and to your doctor in very practical, day-to-day terms about what it's like to care for an infant. Don't underestimate how much time you'll need with your newborn. Clear out as much time as you can during the period after birth. Also, don't hesitate to ask for help from your partner and others who care about you.

Treatment

Numerous scientific studies and scholarly journal articles support the notion that postpartum depression is treatable using a variety of methods. If the cause of PPD can be identified, as described above under "social risk factors," treatment should be aimed at mitigating the root cause of the problem, including increased partner support, additional help with childcare, cognitive therapy, etc.
(Click here to read more about depression and how you can be helped or help others who may be going through it.)

 

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