- by Motherhood Hospital
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- Dec 28 2017
WHAT IS POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION?-By Dr Sushruth.V
If you are a new mom, you should be bustling with love, affection and joy but it can get really upsetting when you experience the opposite feelings. These negative thoughts should not be dismissed as “baby blues” as they could be a sign of a more serious condition – Postpartum depression. It is not a very unusual condition and can happen to first time mothers as well as to the ones who have already given birth before.
WHY DO I HAVE IT?
Postpartum depression is usually a result of a combination of genetic, emotional, hormonal and environmental factors. However, some women may be more susceptible to it due to certain risk factors, such as:
- Hormones: When you are pregnant, your hormone levels rise and once the baby is born, they drop suddenly. This quick and sudden change can trigger depression in some women. This is similar to how you get mood swings during your menstrual cycles.
- Past history of depression: If you have suffered from depression or it runs in the family, you are more likely to develop postpartum depression.
- Stress: You are more likely to become depressed as a new mom if you don’t have a supporting or helpful environment. Financial problems, domestic abuse, problems with drugs or alcohol all contribute to stress.
- Unplanned pregnancy: Young women who have had an unplanned baby or are single mothers may go through postpartum depression.
Other risk factors include:
- Traumatic childbirth experience
- Preterm delivery
- A baby born with birth defects
- Multiple babies
- Breastfeeding problems
The signs and symptoms may differ from mother to mother but the common ones include:
- Feeling of sadness, despair and hopelessness
- Not being able to care for the baby or carry out basic chores
- Crying a lot for no apparent reason
- Trouble bonding with your baby
- Sleeping most of the time or not being able to sleep in the night
- Loss of interest in food, sex and self-care
- Irritable or angry
- Overpowering guilt
DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT
If you suffer from most of the above given symptoms, a doctor will be able to diagnose you with postpartum depression after a detailed discussion about your feelings.
The treatment for postpartum depression is almost the same as depression. Whether the symptoms are mild or severe, it is essential to talk to a therapist. The common forms of treatment include medications and counselling with some lifestyle changes.
- Talk therapy or counselling or psychotherapy can be a great help. A therapist will help you share the negative thoughts that you are going through in a personal or group setting with other women going through a similar experience. This will allow you to deal with the depression in a healthy manner. Therapy can also involve your partner and family.
- Medications in the form of Antidepressants could be prescribed as they balance the brain chemicals that regulate your mood. Antidepressants may cause side effects but most of them will resolve in a short period of time. If you are breastfeeding, you may discuss with your doctor before taking medications to avoid any side effect for your baby.
WHY SHOULD YOU SEEK HELP?
Depression can be a lonely and scary phase and if left untreated will only get worse and difficult to get out of. Postpartum depression, if becomes severe, can lead to postpartum psychosis where one begins to suffer from delusions, hallucination, sees the baby as a threat and may have feelings of harming oneself or the baby.
It is important to attend all the therapy sessions and follow the course of treatment. Always communicate your feelings to the therapist and if your depression doesn’t tend to improve, communicate that with your therapist so that he can adopt a different approach.
You must remember that this is not your fault so one must not blame herself. Along with treatment, you can include positive changes in your life to be able to better cope up with postpartum depression. Seeking treatment will not only help you recover but is important in order to help you bond with your baby and be able to provide them with the love and care that they need.
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