20 Signs You May Have Postpartum Depression
Ever heard of the words “baby blues”?
Do you know it is normal for new mothers to experience baby blues which includes feeling depressed, worried, or exhausted for the first week or two after childbirth?
It’s perfectly natural and typically goes away after a few weeks and up to 80% of mothers experience these emotions.
However, postpartum depression is not the same as baby blues, despite the fact that some of the symptoms are similar.
Learn more about this condition and what can be done to overcome it as postpartum depression is a serious condition that should not be taken lightly.
What is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression is more severe and lasts longer than baby blues. It occurs in around 15% of all births, both in first-time mothers and those who have previously given birth.
It can lead to extreme mood swings, depression, and hopelessness. The strength of those feelings will make caring for your baby and yourself challenging.
It’s a serious condition, but with therapy, it can be resolved.
What is the cause of postpartum depression?
There are physical and emotional causes of postpartum depression.
Many new mothers go through a variety of physical and emotional changes as a result of their pregnancy.
After delivery, there is a sudden decrease in hormones. The precise link between this decrease and depression is still unknown.
It is understood that during pregnancy, the levels of estrogen and progesterone, the female reproductive hormones, increase tenfold. And, after delivery, they drop. The levels of these hormones return to pre-pregnancy levels three days after a woman gives birth.
Apart from sudden decrease in hormones, other physical causes are:
- Lack of sleep
- Thyroid hormone levels are low.
- Underlying medical problems
- Misuse of drugs and alcohol
If you’ve already had a mood disorder or if mood disorders run in your family, you’re more likely to experience postpartum depression. Emotional factors that may cause PPD include:
- Recent divorce
- Loss of a loved one,
- You or your child experiencing severe health issues
- Financial pressures
- Lack of support
What are the symptoms of postpartum depression?
Within a few weeks of delivery, symptoms are most likely to appear. It may appear months after the birth of a child and can subside for a day or two before reappearing.
While it’s normal to feel moody or tired after giving birth, postpartum depression is far more severe. It has extreme symptoms that can make it difficult to function properly.
The symptoms differ from person to person and even day to day. If you have postpartum depression, chances are that you:
- Weep or feel depressed a lot, even though you don’t know why
- Feel tired, but you can’t fall asleep
- Sleep too much
- Can’t resist eating or don’t care for food at all
- Experience a variety of unexplained aches or pains
- Unsure of what’s making you irritable, nervous, or upset
- Notice your moods shift abruptly and unexpectedly
- Have a sense of being out of control
- Have trouble recalling information
- Unable to focus or make straightforward decisions
- Lose interest in activities that you used to love
- Feel you’re not close to your baby and are puzzled as to why you aren’t as happy as you expected to be
- Feel all seems hopeless
- Feel worthless and ashamed of your emotions
- Feel like you can’t open up to someone for fear of being labelled a bad mother or having your baby taken away, so you withdraw
- Want to be free of everything and everyone
- Have no or little interest in sex compared to before
- Unsure what’s making you irritable, nervous, or upset
- Your moods shift abruptly and unexpectedly
- Have uncontrollable thoughts about hurting yourself or your kid
Do you think you may be experiencing these symptoms? It is important to seek help immediately to prevent yourself and baby from harm.
Are daddies left out?
According to studies, one out of every ten new fathers experiences depression during the first year of their child’s life.
It’s not unusual for new fathers to experience postpartum depression. These feelings are common in men, just as they are in new mothers, and they seem to fade away as everyone adjusts.
Paternal postnatal depression is a form of postpartum depression that affects men.
Depression symptoms are similar in men and women, but they may manifest more slowly in fathers. This makes them more difficult to identify.
Since new fathers do not have the same access to doctors as new mothers, depression will go unnoticed. In addition, there is little information and fewer programs in place to assist new fathers in coping with these emotions.
Men are less likely to report depressive symptoms, but studies suggest that up to 25% of fathers experience depression in the first year after giving birth. In the weeks following birth, first-time fathers are more likely to experience anxiety.
How can postpartum depression be treated?
The first thing is to seek help from your health provider. Depending on the type of symptoms and severity, postpartum depression is treated differently.
Anti-anxiety or antidepressant drugs, psychotherapy, and membership in a support group for emotional support and education are also choices for treatment.
Don’t believe that when you’re breastfeeding, you won’t be able to take medicine for depression. Many women take medicine while breastfeeding under the care of a doctor.
Fathers should also aim to put in place a support structure. This can include scheduling childcare, attending a depression support group, or socializing with friends.
New fathers, like new mothers, must eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and get plenty of rest. If the depression symptoms persist or become serious, you should see a doctor for a proper diagnosis.
Antidepressant drugs, alone or in combination with therapy, can be used to treat depression. Couples therapy or family counselling can be appropriate in situations where both parents are depressed.