Postpartum

Depression after the Birth of a Child

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September 9, 2022

What is postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression is the type of depression that starts about four weeks after the delivery caused by an onset of changes in not only mental health but also physiology in the body. The body goes through a lot after giving birth to a baby and all that change might cause postpartum depression. 

Who is affected by postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression could happen to any woman but is more common among younger women who might have given birth for the first time. Postpartum psychosis is however a more severe condition that affects a lesser percentage of women. 

What factors increase my risk of being depressed after the birth of my child?

  • If you have a history of depression or premenstrual dysphoric disorder in your family or your health. 
  • History of postpartum pregnancy.
  • An unstable marriage. 
  • Lack of social support. 
  • Uncertainty surrounding the pregnancy. 

Types of postpartum depression

Postpartum blues 

Postpartum blues or maternity are experienced feelings of sadness or anxiety without a definite cause. It is expected to occur in women about 50 to 70 percent of the time within a few days after childbirth and last for up to two weeks. It might help if your family, partner, and friends are supportive during this period of time to help you get through it. Make sure you get enough sleep and rest along with emotional support. 

 

Postpartum depression

If the anxiety and sadness continue for longer than 2 weeks after delivery, it might be a condition of postpartum depression. However, postpartum depression is seen in way fewer women than normal. If you experienced postpartum depression in your previous pregnancy, your chances are higher in the next one. Symptoms of postpartum depression include:

  • Persistent sadness and anxiety in addition to a lack of interest. 
  • Disturbances in sleep. 
  • Lack of interest in conversing with other people.
  • Difficulty in taking care of oneself and child.
  • Loss of energy and tiredness.

Postpartum psychosis 

About one in a thousand women experience postpartum psychosis which is a more severe form of depression. This condition can cause the women to hallucinate and have delusional thoughts about their situation. Their actions and decision-making could be harmful and life-threatening to themselves and their own child as well. Some of their signs and symptoms include:

  • Severe agitation and hyperactive
  • Quick speech
  • Paranoia, hallucination, and delusional thoughts
  • Disturbances in sleep
  • Attempted harm to oneself and the baby
  • Appears confused or disoriented
  • Suicidal

These symptoms could last for a couple of weeks or a couple of months.  

What causes postpartum depression? 

The actual onset of postpartum depression isn’t apparent and is still being researched. Right now it is believed that hormonal changes like progesterone and estrogen drop after delivery might be one major reason for such a trigger. In a couple of days following the delivery, these hormones return to levels as before the pregnancy.  

Here are some possible causes of postpartum depression:

  • Mental problems such as depression
  • Lacks emotional support from family and friends 
  • Stressful life events 
  • Difficult Financial condition
  • Toxic or traumatic relationships or domestic violence in relationships

Can postpartum depression be prevented?

Your doctor can make an assessment of your mental health during your pregnancy and predict the chance of postpartum depression. Starting your pregnancy journey you can help to prevent the chance of Postpartum depression. You can start counseling or therapy if you want to. You can also opt to receive medication to help with your postpartum depression after delivery. After the delivery, it might be a combination of therapy and medication to treat your depression. 

Treating postpartum depression

If you think you are suffering from the symptoms of postpartum depression, you should contact your doctor and talk about the help you can get. You can receive help until you feel better and can take care of yourself and the baby. 

Here are some additional tips you can use to manage your postpartum depression:

  • If you need to, restrict the number or kinds of guests who are visiting you post delivery. 
  • Get help from your friends or family. Ask for help from people that are supportive. 
  • Get enough rest. 
  • Get whatever exercise you can get. 
  • Make friends with parents like you. 
  • Contact your friends and talk to them.
  • Maintain a healthy diet with a restriction from caffeine and cut down on alcohol. 
  • Work on your relationship with your partner.
  • Contact your care provider or therapist.

In necessary cases, the doctor will issue recommendations for anxiety or psychosis medication along with therapy and counseling. You might also get admitted to the hospital until you are cleared.

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