What is Postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression can be described as a collection of physical, behavioral and emotional challenges frequently experienced by new mothers. It’s a severe type of mood disorder related to childbirth. Most cases of postpartum depression happen a few months after delivery but can also occur immediately after stillbirth or miscarriages. It’s a serious type of depression that can make you feel hopeless, worthless and unfortunate. Many victims of postpartum depression disorder find it difficult bonding with and caring for their babies. Postpartum depression is way different from baby blues which disappears after a few weeks of childbirth.
Postpartum is different as its symptoms can last for more than six months after childbirth. In recent times, many women are suffering from severe postpartum depression referred to as postpartum psychosis. It’s so severe that it keeps new mothers in dangers of experiencing a complex mix of emotional, physical, and behavioral changes that affect their normal lives. It’s crucial for a new mother to receive immediate treatment for postpartum depression. The earlier you get treated for this disorder, the sooner you’ll recover and enjoy the bond with your new baby.
Three types of Postpartum Depression
The baby blues
This is the basic type of afterbirth depression which happens to many women immediately after delivering. It’s quite normal to the extent of being seen as a common disorder. It makes a new mother experience impulsive mood swings such as happy and sad feelings. Most cases of baby blues don’t last and may disappear after few hours or days of delivering. It doesn’t need treatment as it has small effects on the mother. Comfort from friends and family is the best way of overcoming baby blues.
Usually happens few weeks or sometimes months after childbirth. It can happen with the birth of any child and not necessarily the first child. It gives a much stronger depression feeling as compared to baby blues. It affects the new mother’s ability to function correctly. Despite it being a severe medical condition, it can be treated with counseling and medication.
This is an advanced stage of the postpartum depression. It’s very severe that it affects new mothers quickly within the first months of childbirth. Its symptoms include losing connection with reality, insomnia, hallucinations, and restlessness and so on. It can only be treated with medication under the watch.
What causes postpartum depression?
The alteration in hormone levels is the leading cause of postpartum depression in new mothers, and it happens immediately after childbirth. It’s a problem that can happen to any woman in the first months after delivery, stillbirth or miscarriage.
You have a high chance of being affected by postpartum depression if:
- You’ve experienced any form of depression or postpartum depression at an initial stage.
- You have a weak relationship with your partner, family, or friends.
- Your baby grows sick frequently
- You’re facing lots of other stresses in your life.
- You’ve bipolar disorder
- If any of your family member manic-depression you’re most likely to get postpartum psychosis
Events that may expose a woman to postpartum depression
- Any previous cases of postpartum depression which increase the risks of re-occurrence by more than seventy percent
- Any despair and grief which is unrelated to pregnancy increase the risk of postpartum depression by more than 30 percent.
- Severe premenstrual disorder
- Stressful matrimonial problems,
- Family, financial and occupational issues.
- Unplanned pregnancy or uncertainty about the pregnancy
Symptoms reported for postpartum depression include:
- Disheartened or low mood all the time.
- Loss of concentration and interest in activities that were pleasurable at a previous stage
- Despair and hopelessness
- Frequent thoughts of infanticide and suicide
- The distress of hurting the baby
- A victim may develop too much concern or lack of care for the baby
- Victims develop a feeling of worthlessness, inadequacy, and guilt
- High cases of impaired memory and Poor focus
- Victim develops strange thoughts
- Frequent hallucinations and illusions
- Recurrent nightmares
- Panic of non-existing attacks
- Develops worry and anxiety
- Loss of sleep
- Loss of concentration.
- Develops a sad feeling
- Feels empty and hopeless
Some women may lose their appetite resulting in severe weight loss, whereas other develops abnormal appetite leading to massive weight gain. Postpartum symptoms may occur within the first few days of childbirth or can happen after a couple of weeks after completion of the baby blue symptoms.
How to know you’re suffering from postpartum depression
The first sign of a woman who has postpartum psychosis is feeling disconnected from her baby. She develops hallucinations that make her see and hear things that don’t exist. Developing fleeting thoughts of harming your baby or committing suicide is an indication of postpartum depression setting in. If you’re a postpartum depression woman who can’t restrain from hurting yourself, your baby, or someone else, consider seeking the services of a professional doctor for emergency medical care.
Diagnosis of postpartum depression
Professional doctors will conduct a physical examination by asking multiple questions about postpartum depression symptoms. Ensure you open up and tell your doctor about baby blues feeling at the first medical check-up immediately the baby is born. Most doctors will make a consultation plan that allows a programmed follow up to monitor how your health.
Is Postpartum Depression Common?
Postpartum depression has become a common disorder in recent times. Most new mothers are experiencing baby blues immediately after childbirth. In a group of ten new mothers, about two or more are known to develop a long-lasting and more severe postpartum depression after childbirth. One in every one thousand women further develops a more serious postpartum condition known as postpartum psychosis. From this statistic, it evidenced this condition is something quite common among our women.
How is postpartum depression treated?
Most cases of postpartum depression are treated with professional therapy, counseling, and applicant of antidepressant medications. Women suffering from slighter depression can easily be treated with counseling alone. However, most women need both counseling and antidepressant treatment for full recovery. The good thing is that new mothers can still breastfeed their babies even when on antidepressants medication. For a much quicker recovery from postpartum depression, ensure you eat well, get enough sleep, and engage in small daily exercises. Additional support from family and friends will also help keep you busy and kill possible hallucinations and negative thoughts. You should not feel sad and hopeless about yourself for having these diseases. Having postpartum shouldn’t be the end for you as it doesn’t mean you’ll be a bad mother. It’s a common treatable disease as many women have recovered fully from it after taking medication and counseling. Even though the whole treatment process may take longer, you will get better with proper treatment.