How To Find The Best Postpartum Depression Treatment

Reviewed by Laura Angers, LPC

Published 06/24/2022

When it comes to treating postpartum depression, you need to take advantage of the best options that are available to you. In order to find the best treatment for postpartum depression, it may be beneficial to know more about this condition. Keep reading for details about postpartum depression, including causes, risk factors, symptoms, and common treatment options.

What Is Postpartum Depression?

A Mother Carrying Her Baby

Postpartum depression is a type of depression that people experience in the days or weeks after they have a baby. Since the body undergoes so many changes during and after pregnancy, many women will experience what is known as “baby blues,” which refers to when a mom feels down or out of sorts for a few weeks after having her child. This generally levels off after a month or so, when hormone levels start to stabilize, and a new home routine has been established. 

Postpartum depression is more than just feeling the blues, however. It can last for quite a while after a baby is born, and when left untreated, can be problematic.

New dads and new adoptive parents can also experience postpartum depression.

Causes

There are a couple of possible causes that may contribute to postpartum depression. One is the changes that occur in a woman’s body. When there are fluctuations in hormones taking place, this can affect your mood and how you behave.

Another cause to consider is the other changes that take place after a baby comes home from the hospital. During the first few months of a baby’s life, there will be much more for a new parent to do, such as late night and early morning feedings, as well as a number of other chores. Moreover, taking care of a baby may be overwhelming for some people when they are first-time parents. This can cause them to doubt their abilities.

Risk Factors

Anyone can experience postpartum depression after a child is born. As mentioned above, even adoptive parents can experience this type of depression. This is discussed in the Journal of Research in Nursing.

There are other factors to contemplate for moms as well. For example, if a person has too much anxiety or stress while they are pregnant, as well as afterward, this may give them a higher chance of developing postpartum depression.

Other possible risk factors include issues in a relationship, financial difficulties, and if they have been depressed in the past.

Dads With Postpartum Depression

Dad may become depressed as well whenever a mom has a new baby. It is thought that a dad can be affected if his partner is depressed or if it places more strain on the relationship. A dad may also be experiencing a lack of sleep and other issues as well, which can contribute to him becoming depressed at this time.

Symptoms

Here are some of the symptoms of postpartum depression that you should be aware of.

  • Feeling sad
  • Worrying too much
  • Not being able to bond with your child
  • Unexplained pain in the body
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Not being able to eat
  • Not sleeping the proper amount
  • Tired all the time
  • Having no interest in activities
  • Feeling like you are not equipped to take care of a child
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How To Treat Postpartum Depression

If you are experiencing the symptoms listed above, take this postpartum depression test to find out more about your options. Here is a look at postpartum depression treatment strategies that are used.

Therapy

The first method of treatment is generally postpartum depression therapy, namely psychotherapy. This is the type of therapy that encompasses talking to a therapist and learning more about how to think differently about yourself and your life, as well as being able to maintain your moods. A psychiatrist may help a woman adapt to motherhood quicker and lessen some of their symptoms as well, utilizing different techniques.

Medicines

At times, it is necessary to take medicines when it comes to treating postpartum depression. The Primary Care Companion explains how the treatment is very similar to the way that major depressive disorder is treated. A major depressive disorder is a severe form of depression.

There are multiple types of prescriptions that may be prescribed to you by your doctor as postpartum treatment. However, it is important to understand that there may not be a medicine that you can take while you are breastfeeding. This is why it is important to work closely with your therapist in order to help keep them informed of your symptoms, how you are responding to therapy, and if you will need to be placed on medicines in the future.

Often, doctors will develop a treatment plan for postpartum depression that uses both therapy and medicines. This can give a person a better chance of seeing a reduction in symptoms and being able to do the things they need to do without hindering their life and routine.

Home Techniques

Like with many other conditions, it may become important to take care of yourself at home in a number of ways as a part of your overall treatment plan. Here are a few ideas on what you can try at home. You may talk to your doctor about these aspects, and they could have additional ideas for you to employ.

Get Some Sleep

Blond girl sleeping on her bed

You must get the proper amount of sleep, although that may be easier to accomplish after the first few weeks of a baby’s life. Do your best to avoid naps in the middle of the day, so you’ll have the best chance to be able to fall asleep during the nighttime hours.

Exercise

Exercising can be rough, especially if you delivered via c-section, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t start doing low impact exercises. When your doctor says it is okay, take a walk around the block, go swimming, or do other types of working out, so you can burn off some of your stress. Short workouts may also give you a few minutes to yourself, where you can relax your thinking and do something good for yourself at the same time.

Eat Enough Calories

You should also do everything you can to eat healthy meals and ingest the proper number of calories. This may be difficult when you don’t have a lot of time to cook, so do your best. Eating enough calories is even more crucial if you are breastfeeding, which is why you should try to eat a balanced diet as much as you can. Moreover, when you are eating enough foods that are good for you and provide vitamins and minerals, this may be able to give you the energy you need to get through your day.

Talk To Your Friends

Keeping to yourself might be what you want to do when you have a new baby, but it is important to talk to the people that are most important to you. This can help ensure that they will be there when you need something or require help caring for your child. For instance, when you nurture your support system, there’s a better chance that you’ll have an ally to call on to take care of your baby when you need to go somewhere or to come over and prepare dinner when you are too busy to do so. Another reason to keep those you care about close to you is that you may need them to offer you advice and provide different perspectives, which can make you feel good about your parenting abilities and about yourself in general.

Don’t Try To Do Everything Yourself

When you give birth to a new baby, you must understand that there is another person in the house. This means there is a lot more to do, but if you have help, don’t do all the work yourself. Allow others to help you and delegate tasks to those around you when possible. This can help you be able to relax when you need a break, which is something that may be much needed when you have a newborn.

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Overview

While any woman can experience postpartum depression, it is important to remember that you can seek treatment for it as well. After you have a baby, if you are feeling sad or depressed, make sure that you visit your doctor as soon as you can, so they will be able to determine if everything is okay. The sooner you get treated for postpartum depression, the sooner you may start to feel more like yourself. You can see certain symptoms lessen or go away when you follow a treatment plan that caters to your needs.

Keep in mind that there is no cure for depression, however, so it could take a while for you to feel better. If you know that you have a history of depression, be sure to seek treatment early, as you may be able to prevent postpartum depression.

If you are a new dad that suspects you may be experiencing postpartum depression, there is help out there for you as well. Be sure to talk to your doctor about treatment, which may include family therapy and medicines.