Becoming a mother is an out of the world feeling and ladies prepare themselves for it for a long time. Women plan for it and always feel joyful, when she is expecting this wonderful gift from god. But, after giving birth, it has been studied that women sometimes lose their control on themselves and feel depressed, sad and irritated. This leads to postpartum depression and sometimes baby blues too, which is a type of clinical depression in which powerful emotions, from excitement and joy to fear and anxiety happens frequently.
It has been studied that up to 80 percent of new mothers experience the baby blues. There are varied possibilities of emotional weakness expected after childbirth including mild depression and mood swings including anxiety, sadness, irritability, crying and decreased concentration, that begins after giving birth, which lasts for a few days to a week but no longer than two weeks. The baby blues are now a normal part of new motherhood because of the hormonal changes that occur following birth. If you are suffering from this, there is no worry. You’ll definitely feel better once your hormones level out.
What are the changes that lead ladies to postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression generally refers to chemical, social and psychological changes associated right after having a baby. In this phase, a gamut of physical and emotional changes is experienced by new mothers. A rapid drop in hormones like oestrogen and progesterone after delivery is referred to as chemical change. After giving birth, within three days the levels of these hormones drop back to normal when the woman gets pregnant.
In addition, social and psychological changes increase the risk of baby blues, which is postpartum depression. These changes include exhaustion in which woman faces confusion, hallucinations and delusions, paranoia and attempts to harm herself or baby in psychological changes.
Symptoms of postpartum depression:
If any problem is detected at an early stage then the chances of curing it increases. In the case of postpartum depression, which is a serious problem and even severe if not properly treated and detected early. It’s not always easy to distinguish between postpartum depression and baby blues. Sometimes in postpartum depression, symptoms become more severe that lead someone to think suicidal thoughts or an inability to care for newborn) and are long lasting.
Some of the postpartum signs and symptoms, which women should not ignore, are as follows:
- Loss of appetite
- Overwhelming fatigue
- Loss of interest in sex
- Feelings of shame, guilt or inadequacy
- Severe mood swings
- Difficulty bonding with your baby
- Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
Risk factors of postpartum depression:
Postpartum depression may develop after immediate birth of any child. A risk factor is basically a situation that increases your chances of having a certain problem. Some of the risk factors for postpartum depression include:
- Having a history of depression, either during pregnancy or at other times
- Already suffered postpartum depression after previous pregnancy
- Problems with spouse and other family members
- Weak support system
- Financial problems
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How postpartum depression affects the baby?
Postpartum depression interferes and disturbs your ability to function and ability to take care of yourself as well as your child. It is not right to say that you are a bad mother if you are facing postpartum depression. However, if you are attacked with symptoms of depression like fatigue, irritability, and tearfulness, then at this point of time it is very difficult to keep proper care of your newborn child. It is also the truth that if your postpartum or any kind of depression remains untreated then it will affect your baby.
Studies have shown that there are various impact of post partum depression on children, these are:
- Delays in cognitive development- There is a definite problem in development of the babies and children who have depressed mothers. They learn to walk and talk later than other children. Moreover, these children also face learning difficulties during school.
- Emotional problems– Various studies have shown that children of depressed mothers have lower self-esteem, more anxious and are less independent.
- Society problems- Depressed mother’s children face difficulty in their life in establishing secure relationships. They find it hard to mak friends in schools and are also socially withdrawn.
Treatment of postpartum depression:
Treating this form of depression is a very challenging task. For the treatment of postpartum depression, self-help and the support of the family is very important. Various medications, antidepressants, support groups and professional treatments are there for treating postpartum depression effectively. Below are various treatment options, these are:
Self-help for postpartum depression:
To overcome the problems of depression, self-healing is the best way. It means, the more you care for your mental and physical health, the better you’ll feel. Further, small changes in lifestyle may help you in going a long way towards your life.
- Don’t be careless about sleep- When dealing with a newborn, eight hours may seem like an unattainable luxury and it is also a fact that poor sleep during this period makes depression even worse. Try to catch-up naps whenever you can.
- Revive quality time for yourself- Try to relax and take a break from your duties and find various ways to pamper yourself like taking a bubble bath or lighting scented candles to refresh your mood.
- Exercise- Studies have shown that exercises are the most effective medication when it comes to treating depression.
How can a husband make life easier for woman suffering from postpartum depression?
Postpartum period is hard for every member of the family, but it affects the child’s father, the most. After all, father is the busiest person in tending to his baby’s needs, so make sure to get a lot of rest. In the meantime, husbands can offer their partners necessary help and also try to adjust with her, if they expected life after the baby’s birth to be joyous for their family.
Always remember, husband’s and family’s support is vital for the woman’s recovery.
Professional help for postpartum depression:
If women still struggle with postpartum depression after self-help and support of family, they may seek professional treatment. Postpartum depression manifests as regular depression and various therapies, medications, and support groups can always be helpful.
- Individual therapy– A professional therapist can help you in successfully dealing with the adjustments of motherhood.
- Antidepressants for postpartum depression– For postpartum depression, various antidepressants are available in the market. But there is an increased risk that if you’re breast-feeding then any medication you take will enter your breast milk. However, some of the antidepressants available in the market can be used during breast-feeding with little risk of side effects for your baby. Always make sure to consult your doctor before starting any antidepressants course.
If you are suffering from postpartum depression, there is no reason to feel guilty because it is not in your control. But, proper treatment and counselling is in your hand. So, keeping in mind the status of yourself and your baby, it’s important to seek help right away.
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