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Postpartum depression: overview, causes and symptoms

Last updated on : 16 May, 2024

Read time : 5 min

What is postpartum depression?

The birth of a child can elicit a wide range of strong emotions, from joy and excitement to fear and anxiety. It can, however, lead to an unanticipated outcome: depression.

After giving birth, most new mothers experience “baby blues,” which include mood swings, crying spells, anxiety, and sleeping difficulties. The baby blues usually start two to three days after birth and last for two weeks.

Postpartum depression, on the other hand, affects some new mothers and is a more severe and long-term form of depression. Postpartum psychosis is a severe mood disorder that can occur after a woman has given birth.

It is neither a flaw nor a weakness in a person’s character. Sometimes it’s just a side effect of childbirth. If you’re suffering from postpartum depression, getting help as soon as possible can help you manage your symptoms and bond with your baby.

Types of postpartum depression

Three terms are used to describe the mood shifts that women experience after giving birth:

1. Baby blues:

Women experience what is known as the “baby blues.” If you’re suffering from the baby blues, you’ll experience frequent, long bouts of crying for no apparent reason, as well as sadness and anxiety.

2. Postpartum depression (PPD):

This is a much more serious condition than postpartum blues, affecting roughly one out of every ten new mothers. You may experience alternating highs and lows, as well as feelings of guilt, anxiety, and inability to care for your baby or yourself. You may also experience frequent crying, irritability, and fatigue. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and they can appear quickly or gradually, up to a year after delivery. Treatment with psychotherapy or antidepressants is very effective, even though symptoms can last from a few weeks to a year.

3. Postpartum psychosis:

Postpartum psychosis requires medical attention. As this mental illness could kill you. A lot of babies get this disease in the first three months of their birth. A lot of women who are going through menstruation can hear things that aren’t there and have false ideas. It also means that they don’t know which things are real and which aren’t. Visual hallucinations happen less often than auditory hallucinations. Also, in cases such as insomnia, and irritability, you need to move your body in a specific way.

Postpartum depression causes

Postpartum depression has no single cause, but physical and emotional factors may play a role like:

  • At the time of conception, the maturity level was (the younger you are, the higher the chances)
  • Uncertainty about the baby’s gender
  • Family members are affected by mood disorders.
  • Experiencing a traumatic event, such as the loss of a job or a health problem
  • Having a child who is disabled or who has health problems
  • Having triplets or twins is an excellent way to increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy.
  • In the past, PPD was known as PMD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder).
  • There’s a lack of social support.
  • Living alone
  • Relationship problems or marital conflict

Body changes A significant drop in hormones in the body after childbirth. It may cause postpartum depression. Other thyroid hormones may drop as well, making you tired, sluggish, and depressed.

Emotional difficulties. Even minor issues can be difficult to deal with when you sleep stressed and confused. You might be worried about being able to care for a young baby. You might be less alluring and have identity issues. It also feels like you’ve lost control over the situation. Any of these issues may play a role.

Postpartum depression symptoms

The baby blues are milder and last less time than signs of postpartum depression. They may interfere with your day-to-day obligations and child care. But they can appear earlier in pregnancy or later.

  • Extreme mood swings or depression
  • Tears that you can’t stop crying
  • Bonding with your baby is difficult, and
  • you’re losing ground from family and friends.
  • Appetite loss or eating
  • Tremendous fatigue or energy loss
  • Difficulty to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much
  • Severe mood swings and frustration
  • Significant decline and loss of pleasure you used to enjoy
  • Fear of not being a loving mother
  • Feelings of helplessness
  • Feelings of inferiority, shame, remorse, or unworthiness
  • The ability to think, focus, or make decisions has deteriorated.
  • Restlessness
  • Loneliness
  • Anxiety and panic attacks that are severe
  • Sense of insecurity of harming yourself or your child
  • Suicide or death thoughts

If you don’t seek help for postpartum depression. It can affect your ability to bond with your baby and the rest of your family.

Postpartum depression treatment

Postpartum psychosis is usually treated with psychotic drugs.. It is also common for people to go to a hospital.

There aren’t enough medications for all breastfeeding mothers. To get them, you must be depressed, anxious, or mentally ill. Consult a physician. With the help of a doctor, many women take medication while breastfeeding. Together, you and your physician will make a decision.

Self-care tips to follow:

  • A healthy diet and regular exercise
  • Keeping all doctor’s appointments and following up on issues
  • Blood sugar levels are maintained by eating small, frequent meals
  • 7–8 hours of sleep per night
  • Preparing during pregnancy to reduce postpartum stress
  • Expressing feelings and concerns to loved ones
  • Keeping in touch with friends and family
  • Asking a doctor about local support groups
  • Practical and emotional support from others
  • Rest when the baby sleeps, instead of housework
  • Avoiding major changes, like moving, soon after delivery
  • Help with housing, social, and other issues

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Our healthcare experts have carefully reviewed and compiled the information presented here to ensure accuracy and trustworthiness. It is important to note that this information serves as a general overview of the topic and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, prevent, or cure any health problem. This page does not establish a doctor-patient relationship, nor does it replace the advice or consultation of a registered medical practitioner. We recommend seeking guidance from your registered medical practitioner for any questions or concerns regarding your medical condition.

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