04 May FOR THE NEW MOMMIES- POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION?
Having a baby is meant to be a milestone marked with tremendous joy, in the life of a woman. Unless it is marred by postpartum depression. It has been found that almost 40% of new mothers experience a case of baby blues post-delivery. This is a highly emotional state characterized by mood swings, sadness, disinterest in the baby and self-doubt. The difference between baby blues and postpartum depression is that baby blues last no longer than 2 weeks.
So what is Postpartum Depression?
In postpartum depression, signs and symptoms are more intense and last longer than baby blues. They may eventually interfere with your ability to care for your baby and handle other daily tasks. Symptoms usually develop within the first few weeks after giving birth, but may begin earlier ― during pregnancy ― or later — up to a year after birth.
Postpartum depression signs and symptoms may include:-
Depressed mood or severe mood swings
• Excessive crying
• Difficulty bonding with your baby
• Loss of appetite or eating much more than usual
• Inability to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much
• Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy
• Reduced interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
• Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
Why does Postpartum depression Occur?
Postpartum Depression is due to a combination of chemical, social and psychological changes associated with having a baby.
The chemical changes are associated with a drop in the estrogen and progesterone levels on day three post-delivery. How exactly this causes depression is not known. There is a three times increase in these hormones in pregnancy. When there is a sudden drop in these hormones post-pregnancy, it precipitates postpartum depression. The social and psychological factors include an inability to cope with the new role and responsibilities associated with motherhood.
What puts you at risk of Post Partum Depression?
If you have had major depression or premenstrual syndrome prior, you are more prone to Postpartum depression. Age is also a determining factor, the younger you are the more prone you are to this condition. Other factors include lack of social support, being a single parent, living alone and marital conflict.
What are the variations of Postpartum Depression?
• Baby blues are a normal variant of Postpartum depression. A new mother will often have mood swings, crying spells or feel restless, irritable, anxious, lonely and sad. Baby blues may last for a few days up to a maximum of two weeks. You don’t need to see a doctor, just joining a support group of new moms, should help.
• Postpartum depression can last for even months after childbirth. The feelings of sadness, despair and anxiety are longer and more intense than Baby blues. Since PPD impairs functioning, it is important that you see your doctor/health care provider. Thankfully PPD can be treated by medication and counseling.
• Postpartum Psychosis is a serious illness that occurs in the first 3 months post-delivery. The new mother loses touch with reality, has auditory and visual hallucinations and delusions. She is anxious, restless and often agitated. Treatment and tips to handle Post Partum depression.
• Antidepressants. Anti-anxiety Medication and professional counseling are the mainstays of treatment.
• Joining a support group of new mothers and voicing your issues will definitely help.
• Don’t have unrealistic expectation from yourself and the baby.
• Exercise produces endorphins that combat depression.
• Following a nutritious diet high in proteins will boost your tryptophan and serotonin levels.
• Avoid alcohol and caffeine as these can cause anxiety
• Work on your marriage, this is one of your sources of love and companionship.
• Get help from your partner or a baby sitter so you have time for yourself.
• Get enough sleep and rest.
If you are suffering from Postpartum depression, this article is meant to empower you with knowledge about how to go about managing your condition. Following the above measures will ensure rapid recovery, so you can really enjoy motherhood as you are meant to.