Reviewed by Laura Angers, LPC
Postpartum depression is a condition that can be experienced by a mother after she gives birth to a new baby. It is important to understand the causes, symptoms, and how it is treated, so you will have all the information you need to determine if this is something that you or someone you love is experiencing. Keep reading for more information on this mental ailment.
What Is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression is a type of depression that a woman may experience after she has a baby. It can be present a few weeks after birth, or it might take longer to notice. When a woman experiences this type of depression, it will generally cause a change in behavior, and she will have a hard time getting through the things she has to do each day. There is thought to be a link between the changes in hormone levels that happen during and after pregnancy and this type of depression, but this is not considered to be the only cause.
Adoptive parents and dads are also able to be affected by postpartum depression, where they will feel similar and have the same symptoms that are seen in women after they give birth. No matter who is affected by this type of depression, it is important to get treatment for it. This may be the best way to begin to lessen the symptoms.
What Is Postnatal Depression?
Postnatal depression is just another term for postpartum depression. It means the same thing, and many people feel that they are interchangeable. You can also refer to it as post-pregnancy depression.
Is It The Same As Baby Blues?
Baby blues and postpartum depression are not the same thing. When you hear someone talk about baby blues, this is a period of time when a mom may feel sad or depressed right after a baby is born. This condition usually clears up on its own after a few weeks.
How Common Is It?
Approximately 14% of women will experience postpartum depression after they have a baby. This statistic is slightly higher for first-time moms.
Facts You Need To Know
Here are seven important facts to know about Postpartum depression. These facts are reported on the Postpartum Depression.org website.
- Women all over the world can experience postpartum depression, and in fact, the rates may be higher than are recorded since, in some countries, women do not report or seek treatment to help them get the support they need for this condition.
- If a woman has a history of depression, she is more likely to experience postpartum depression after delivering a child.
- A great number of new dads, and new adoptive parents, can also experience postpartum depression.
- A woman can have postpartum depression more than once. If they experienced it after giving birth once, it is possible to experience it again with another baby.
- It is possible to experience postpartum depression and have an additional mental health condition as well. This is why it is so important to get checked out as soon as you notice that you are feeling differently.
- In some cases, women that have miscarriages or deliver stillborn babies may also experience postpartum depression.
- The number of adoptive parents that experience PPD is around 10%.
Postpartum Depression Symptoms
Here is a look at the most common symptoms related to postpartum depression.
- Feeling depressed or down
- Not interested in things you used to like
- Unable to deal with stress
- Not able to make decisions
- Eating too much or not enough
- Sleeping too much or not enough
- Unable to bond with baby
- Suicidal thoughts
If you or someone you love has suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for the support that you need. They can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.
Moreover, if you are experiencing any of these postpartum depression symptoms, take this postpartum depression test to see what your first step concerning treatment should be.
When it comes to postpartum depression treatment, it may begin at your house. Since a new mother may feel like a completely different person after she has a baby, it is important to remember that as you change your routine to take care of a child, you should also do some things for you. Here is a look at what you can do. These things should be attempted in conjunction with a treatment plan that has been laid out by your doctor.
Sleep And Eat Properly
Even though it sounds obvious, it is always a good idea to get the right amount of sleep each night. This can be difficult with a new baby, so take naps when your baby does, and then sleep at night in the hours where this is possible. Keep in mind that once a baby starts sleeping through the night, it will be easier for you to do the same. Additionally, you need to have the energy to get through your day, and the best way to get that energy is through sleeping and eating healthy foods. Eat meals when you can and make sure you are getting good nutrition when you eat. If you are eating the only takeaway, this may not be giving you the energy you need, so cook when it’s convenient or ask your partner to cook on certain days.
Exercise A Few Times A Week
Another thing that can be beneficial is to get moving. Some women may feel self-conscious about their baby weight, so as soon as the doctor tells you that it is okay to exercise, start doing so a few times a week. You can make a difference by simply working out 30 minutes a day, three times a week, so don’t get discouraged.
Connect With Others
Once you get used to having a baby at home, or a new baby at home if you already have children, let people that you care about come around. They may be able to help you do certain things that have been hard for you to accomplish. For instance, you may need a few minutes to take a shower or tidy up the kitchen, and your loved one can watch your baby when you do the chores that have been on your mind. Moreover, it might be helpful to have an adult conversation and be able to connect with someone you care about.
Something else that goes along with this is being able to delegate tasks. Remember that you don’t have to do everything by yourself. When you have people that can help you get things done, let them help you. You can ask them to do specific things if you want to, or you can just ask them for help. There is evidence in The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry that states having the help of your partner goes a long way when it comes to treatment.
Take It One Day At A Time
Don’t be too hard on yourself, and remember that it takes time to get used to big changes in life. Even when you have many things to do, and it seems like you can’t get them all done, it is important to celebrate the things you are able to get done. After all, there is a new human that you must take care of. This is an important task. Take it one day at a time and do the best you can.
Get Checked Out
When you are not feeling like yourself or are experiencing the symptoms listed above, you should get yourself checked out. Meet with a psychologist and tell them about what you are experiencing. This may be beneficial in being able to get rid of some of the symptoms that are affecting you the most.
Once you meet with a doctor, they will be able to diagnose you with postpartum depression if this is what you are experiencing. Then together, you can come up with a treatment plan that works best for your needs. It may utilize both psychotherapy and medicines.
Therapy is a big part of the treatment for postpartum depression. This is because a psychiatrist is able to utilize a number of techniques to help a woman start to think differently and be able to stabilize their moods. Moreover, they may also be able to determine the best ways to lessen stress and anxiety. A study published in Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy explains that this approach is a good way to teach people how to help themselves. They can be taught certain skills that will support them as they work through their symptoms.
Additionally, prescriptions are often used to combat symptoms associated with PPD. Since it is a type of depression, some of the treatment options are the same. There are numerous medicines that your doctor may think are appropriate that they might decide to prescribe. Make sure to tell them if there are any side effects, so you can find the proper medicine that will help you out the most.
When you seek treatment as soon as you can and work with a psychologist to get on a helpful treatment plan, you may see a difference in how postpartum depression affects you. It might take time to see noticeable results in your life, but it may also happen quickly. Either way, be patient and make sure to take care of yourself and your little one.