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Postpartum Depression - Causes, Prevention and Treatment Options

postpartum depression

Excitation, delight, and other strong emotions can all be brought on by the birth of your little one. One common postpartum feeling that new mamas might experience is the “baby blues,” which may include mood changes, crying bouts, anxiety, and trouble sleeping. “Baby blues” usually fade away after two weeks of giving birth. If not, they develop into postpartum depression, which is more severe and pervasive.

To all the mamas out there, it is important to know that depression after giving birth is neither a fault nor a flaw. Sometimes, it's just a side effect of childbirth. You are not alone; treatment for postpartum depression helps you control your symptoms and strengthen your relationship with your newborn.

What are the Symptoms of Postpartum Depression?

Baby blues are sometimes mistaken for postpartum depression at first, but the signs and symptoms are more severe, linger longer, and may eventually make it difficult for you to care for your baby and carry out other daily duties. The first few weeks after giving birth are when symptoms typically appear, but they might start earlier (during pregnancy) or later (up to a year later).

Among the warning signs and symptoms of postpartum depression, you may experience

  • strong mood swings or a depressed mood
  • a lot of tears
  • bonding with your child is difficult 
  • withdrawing from family and friends
  • appetite loss or eating a lot more than normal
  • lack of sleep or excessive snoozing 
  • extreme exhaustion or lack of vitality
  • reduced enjoyment and interest in once-enjoyable activities 
  • extreme irritation and fury 
  • concern that you're not a good mother
  • hopelessness
  • feelings of inadequacy, shame, remorse, or worthlessness
  • reduced capacity for decision-making, concentration, and clarity of thought
  • restlessness
  • anxiety attacks 
  • self-harm or baby-harming ideas 
  • recurrent thoughts of suicide or death

Postpartum depression may persist for many months or longer if left untreated.

What Causes Postpartum Depression? 

Although there is no one specific cause of postpartum depression, mental and physical problems may contribute.

Physically, postpartum depression may be exacerbated by a sharp reduction in estrogen and progesterone levels following childbirth. You might experience a sudden decline in the number of hormones your thyroid gland produces, which can make you feel exhausted, lethargic, and depressed.

Emotionally, when you're exhausted and lack sleep, you could find it difficult to deal with even simple issues. You might be worried about being able to take care of a newborn. You can feel less attractive, have identity issues, or lack a sense of control over your life. Any one of these problems may be a factor in postpartum depression.

What are the Treatment Options for Postpartum Depression? 

If you suspect that you could be experiencing postpartum depression or depression while pregnant, consult a doctor as soon as you can. Most women achieve full recovery with the right care and encouragement, though it may take some time.

The three primary forms of care include:

1. Self-help

Self-help techniques, which include communicating with loved ones and friends about your emotions, scheduling time for activities you enjoy, getting as much sleep as you can at night, working out frequently, and maintaining a good diet.

2. Therapy

Therapy could also be one option. Your doctor might refer you to a mental health expert to guide you through this process. 

3. Medicine

Your doctor might prescribe a medication that is safe to take while nursing. Discuss the benefits and drawbacks of various treatments with your doctor so that you can decide together which is best for you.

Doctors might also investigate any physical health issues that might be causing or exacerbating depressive symptoms. For instance, you can have an unbalanced thyroid or be anemic after childbirth. This may exacerbate or produce depression-related emotions. These physical health issues are typically simple to cure.

Essentially, as a new mama, set realistic expectations. Taking care of a newborn requires a lot of effort. It is challenging to find time to even take the most basic care of yourself, such as sleeping, eating, and showering. So that you can focus on taking care of yourself, ask your friends and family to help you with baby care. Also, mama, your feelings are valid; do not be embarrassed to speak up and seek support. 

You are not a bad parent or person as a result. You are strong, you got this, and you are not alone.  

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