Most women are not aware of this term. But it is very important to know what postpartum depression means. Not just the women, but even men in the family needs to aware of this term to properly take care of a woman in the family who has given birth to a baby.
What is Postpartum Depression?
This is a type of depression that mainly affects women. Postpartum Depression, also known as Postnatal Depression, is a term used to describe the mild to serious depression that a woman can experience after giving birth to a child.
Postpartum Depression can occur anytime after the delivery or even start a year later. In most cases, it occurs within the first three months after the delivery.
Causes of Postpartum Depression
Many non-hormonal causes of Postpartum Depression include:
1. Changes in your body from pregnancy and delivery
Before pregnancy, you must have done so many things like going out for a walk, playing, actively participating in events, or indulging in what makes you happy. After the baby is delivered, you are not able to do these things which were making you happy. Your body is into healing mode. You feel confined to a small space causing you to feel depressed.
2. Changes in work and social relationships
During pregnancy, there are many people around you who are taking care of you. It may be your partner, family members, or friends. After you have delivered, people come to see you and the baby. But after some time people become busy with their work. For example, your partner may have to go to the office and people around become busy with their own life. You are left alone with your baby. This makes you stressed out which is again a contributor to any sort of depression.
3. Having less time and freedom for yourself.
Sometimes, it happens that you had a lot of time to take care of yourself and also the freedom to do whatever you like. But once the baby arrives you may not be getting that 'me time' to take care of yourself. This can be a lot draining and cause you to feel depressed.
4. Lack of sleep
The most common problem after the baby is delivered is lack of sleep. You stay awake at night taking care of your baby. You get very little time to sleep or you may not get time to sleep at all. It is not easy to stay awake without any sleep. Your body is not accustomed to this new routine. This leads to irritability and tiredness. The prolonged lack of sleep may make you sick mentally and physically. This is one of the major causes of Postpartum Depression.
5. Worries about your ability to be a good mother
You are very new to this experience. During pregnancy, there may be people taking care of you and you did not have to do anything. After delivery, you are alone to take care of your baby. This brings lots of thoughts in your mind like - "How I would take care of my child?", "Do I have the capability to take care of my baby?"
6. Other causes
Additionally, there are many people who will give advice like you do this or that. They may tell things as if they know more than a doctor. All these things may make you feel guilty that you are very incapable to handle the current situation.
The second problem can be milk production. The doctor recommends that you breastfeed your baby. The people around you may also force you to breastfeed your baby frequently. You may not produce the required quantity of milk to breastfeed. This may make you feel incapable to support your baby. All these situations take away your happiness of delivering a baby and creates a stressful environment that leads to depression.
With all these thoughts going on in your mind, you develop fear and you may start to doubt yourself, whether you can take care of the baby.
In addition to the above causes, you may have a higher chance of Postpartum Depression if:
- You are aged less than 20.
- You use alcohol, take illegal substances or smoke. (this is a major risk to your baby)
- You had an unplanned pregnancy or were not ready for pregnancy.
- You had Depression, Bipolar disorder, or an anxiety disorder before your pregnancy or with the past pregnancy.
- A traumatic incident occurred during pregnancy or childbirth, such as personal illness, death, or the illness of a loved one.
- There was a premature pregnancy, disease, or birth defect in the baby due to a painful or emergency delivery.
- You have a close family member who has depression or anxiety.
- You have a strained relationship with your partner or are single.
- You have financial problems with little support from family, friends, or your spouse or partner.
Signs and Symptoms Of Postpartum Depression Or Postnatal Depression
Some of the most common signs of postnatal depression or postnatal depression symptoms that women may experience include:
- Feeling sad, hopeless, empty, or overwhelmed.
- Crying without any reason.
- Worrying with feeling overly anxious.
- Feeling Moody, irritable and restless.
- Even when her baby is sleeping, she is oversleeping or unable to sleep.
- Anger or rage is causing you to have difficulty focusing, recalling facts, and making decisions.
- Losing interest in activities that are usually enjoyable.
- Having physical aches and pains, such as regular headaches, stomach issues, and muscle pain.
- Eating too little or too much.
- Withdrawing from or avoiding friends and family.
- Having trouble finding or forming an emotional attachment with her baby.
- Doubting her ability to provide care for her child on a regular basis.
- Thinking about harming herself or her baby.
Your doctor will usually talk with you about your feelings, thoughts, and mental health, to distinguish between short-term causes of Postpartum baby blues, and a more severe form of depression. As part of your evaluation your doctor may:
- Ask you to complete a Postpartum Depression Screening Scale questionnaire called Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale or EPDS Screening.
- Order blood tests to see if the signs and symptoms are being caused by an underactive thyroid.
- If necessary, order additional tests to rule out the possibility of any problem. There may be other reasons behind your symptoms.
There are few general steps that can be taken apart from medical intervention. Follow these tips to lower the effects of Postpartum Depression:
1. Boost your willpower
Treatment begins with you. You have to decide that you will win over the situation you are in. Make your willpower strong and resolve that no matter what, you would not allow negativity to affect you. Doing this is half the battle won.
2. Go out for a walk
Usually, you are told to stay at home to avoid getting sick. Because the air can make you sick, the things you eat can make you sick. But If you can take care of yourself to an extent that you will not fall sick then you can do all the things that make you happy.
It is very important that you get sunshine and fresh air to come out of this situation. Go for a walk for 15 minutes and take your baby along and spend some time with nature.
Only be careful not to fall sick or get infections because if you fall sick, you will pass the infection to your baby.
3. Follow a healthy diet
Do not think about weight loss in the first few months. Have a healthy diet. You can try coconut water. It has most of the nutrition that is necessary. This is very important for you and your baby as you may have to breastfeed.
4. Get body massage and sleep
If it is possible, get a body massage done every day for the first three months. A good body massage helps you to increase blood flow through your entire body.
If possible, follow the sleep cycle of your baby. Try to sleep when your baby sleeps. This will help you get the much-needed refresh for your body.
5. Keep yourself engaged
Watch an interesting movie, listen to music, play games on mobile or click pictures. Eat your favorite food. Just involve yourself in some activities that will help you relax. Do something that will be interesting. It is important to bring back happy feelings and drive away all the negativity.
6. Involve yourself with people
Continue to surround yourself with people who are happy. There are many people who want to come and meet you and the baby. But if you are experiencing the signs of Postpartum Depression, it is best to surround yourself with people who will understand you and will love you.
Make sure you avoid people who give you unnecessary advice.
7. Medical care
Treatment and recovery times vary depending on the severity of your depression and your individual needs. If Postpartum Depression is the result of an underlying condition then you will need to visit the gynecologist.
Your doctor can treat or refer you to the appropriate specialist if you have an underactive thyroid or an underlying illness. You may also be referred to a mental health professional by your doctor.
Postpartum Depression Or Postnatal Depression is often treated with Psychotherapy, also called Talk therapy or mental health counseling, medication, or both.
It might be beneficial to speak with a therapist, counselor, or other mental health professional about your problems. Through therapy, you could find better ways to cope up with your feelings by solving your problems and setting realistic goals. You should be responding to situations in a positive way.
Sometimes, family or relationship therapy also helps.
Your doctor may recommend anti-depressants. If you're breastfeeding, any medication you take will pass on to your baby through your breast milk. Some anti-depressants, on the other hand, may be taken when breastfeeding with little chance of side effects for your kid.
Working with your doctor to consider the risks and benefits of different antidepressants is a good option.
When your safety is assured, a combination of medications such as antidepressants, antipsychotics medications, and mood stabilizers may be used to control your signs and symptoms
4. Electro-Convulsive Therapy or ECT
If the postpartum depression is serious and medicine isn't working, ECT may be recommended.
A small amount of electrical current is applied to the brain during ECT to generate brain waves that resemble those seen during a seizure.
Frequently asked questions about Postpartum Depression
1. What is the Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale?
The Edinburgh Postpartum Depression Scale or Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale is the name of the questionnaire (EDPS Screening). The EDPS Screening was developed to assist women who may be experiencing Postpartum Depression. Each answer is given a score ranging from 0 to 3. The highest possible score is 30. The link to Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale Screening is provided at the end of this article. This Edinburgh depression screening test is quite effective in detecting Postpartum Depression.
2. How long does Postpartum Depression lasts?
Postpartum Depression is a form of major depression that develops after a woman gives birth. Symptoms usually last for at least 2 weeks and last for the majority of the day. But if you are experiencing symptoms for more than two weeks, taking medical advice from your doctor is recommended.
3. Is it possible for men to have Postpartum Depression? Or Can men get Postpartum Depression?
Yes, really. Paternal Postpartum Depression is the name given to postpartum depression in men (PPPD). Around 1 in 10 men experience Paternal Postpartum Depression when he has become the father of the child. Did you note any negative changes in your husband's actions shortly after the birth of your child? As a dad, it's likely that he's suffering from Paternal Postpartum Depression. It is, in reality, true. To know more about it, click here.
4. What is Postpartum Psychosis?
Postpartum mental wellbeing is affected by a variety of causes. Postpartum Psychosis, also known as Puerperal Psychosis, is the most serious form of change that may occur during this period. Symptoms of this disorder may be frightening for a woman. She could hear voices, see things that aren't there, experience hallucinations, and feel a lot of sadness and anxiety. This condition requires emergency medical treatment.
5. How can you prevent Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum Depression (PPD) is a fairly common condition that affects between 10% and 15% of women after giving birth. While it is difficult to predict which women in the general population will experience a Postpartum mood disorder, some subgroups of women that are more susceptible to Postpartum Depression may be identified. Follow the tips given above, right after you have given birth to a baby.
With lots of causes that may be affecting your condition, the people around should know what you are going through and should try to handle it more affectionately and with a lot of understanding. Educate your family members and friends. They need to first know about Postpartum Depression. If they do not know about Postpartum Depression then they will feel that you are avoiding your responsibilities as a mother. It is very important that they understand what is Postpartum Depression and how they can support you.
Tell me about your experiences and how you managed your Postpartum Depression in the comments. I hope it will help everyone and please do not forget to share the article with your loved ones. Your one click to share will make a lot of difference and help in spreading awareness about Postpartum Depression.
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