Postpartum depression (PPD) is a serious mood disorder that affects women after childbirth. Postpartum depression creates feelings of sadness, anxiety, depression and exhaustion that can greatly inhibit their ability to care for their newborn child.
Distinct from the “Baby blues” which is a period of mood swings that affects 70% of mothers and goes away by itself within two weeks after childbirth, postpartum depression is a more serious and lasting condition affecting 1 in 7 mothers within a year after giving birth.
APPOTEK can help with postpartum depression.
Although it’s normal to feel moody or fatigued after having a baby, postpartum depression goes well beyond that. Its symptoms are severe and can interfere with your ability to function.
Symptoms of postpartum depression vary person to person and even day to day. If you have postpartum depression, chances are you’re familiar with several of these indicators:
- You feel sad or cry a lot, even when you don’t know why.
- You’re exhausted, but you can’t sleep.
- You sleep too much.
- You can’t stop eating, or you aren’t interested in food at all.
- You have various unexplained aches, pains, or illnesses.
- You don’t know why you’re irritable, anxious, or angry.
- Your moods change suddenly and without warning.
- You feel out of control.
- You have difficulty remembering things.
- You can’t concentrate or make simple decisions.
- You have no interest in things you used to enjoy.
- You feel disconnected from your baby and wonder why you’re not filled with joy like you thought you’d be.
- Everything feels overwhelming and hopeless.
- You feel worthless and guilty about your feelings.
- You feel like you can’t open up to anyone because they’ll think you’re a bad mother or take your baby, so you withdraw.
- You want to escape from everyone and everything.
- You have intrusive thoughts about harming yourself or your baby.
Your friends and family may notice that you’re withdrawing from them and from social activities or that you just don’t seem like yourself.
Symptoms are most likely to start within a few weeks of delivery. Sometimes, postpartum depression doesn’t surface until months later. Symptoms may let up for a day or two and then return. Without treatment, symptoms may continue to worsen.
Birth depression is a depression that can occur in connection with pregnancy. Almost one-third of those affected by PPD experience some symptoms before pregnancy, one third during pregnancy and one third after childbirth. The exact cause isn’t clear, but there are some factors that may contribute to postpartum depression. Postpartum depression may be triggered by a combination of physical changes and emotional stressors.
Baby blues is not depression. After giving birth, you can go through a period of mood swings. You can start crying for no reason and feel very worried about your child. This is normal and harmless. You can have Baby blues from a few hours up to two weeks after giving birth.
Mild depression that is not treated usually passes within six months, though it can take longer. You can improve your condition by:
- asking for help if you need it
- sleeping enough
- having fixed routines
- eating healthily
Therapy: conversational therapy is an effective method of treating depression. In some cases, doctors can also provide medicines – often in combination with talk-therapy. It’s also important to make some healthy choices in your daily routine.
Medication: Antidepressants have a direct effect on the brain. They alter the chemicals that regulate mood. They won’t work right away, though. It can take several weeks of taking the medication before you notice a difference in your mood. Some people have side effects while taking antidepressants. These may include fatigue, decreased sex drive, and dizziness. If side effects seem to be making your symptoms worse, tell your doctor right away. Some antidepressants are safe to take if you’re breastfeeding, but others may not be. Be sure to tell your doctor if you breastfeed. If your estrogen levels are low, your doctor may recommend hormone therapy.
Therapy: A psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health professional can provide counseling. Therapy can help you make sense of destructive thoughts and offer strategies for working through them.
When to consult a doctor
Seek care if the depression or anxiety lasts for more than two weeks and if you have the symptoms above. If you have previously suffered from postpartum or another type of depression, it is better to seek help before giving birth.
How APPOTEK can help
- Psychological treatment
- Individual assessment and prescriptions and referral if necessary