At the time of birth, a woman can undergo many changes. These changes affect the emotional health of the mother. It is a type of mood disorder which occurs in new moms. 15% of women who become mothers for the first time suffer from it. It is much powerful and can last longer. PPD is not a disease or weakness it simply occurs due to complications in the childbirth. It doesn’t mean that the mother doesn’t love her baby but rather gets under pressure due to her first experience. Postpartum depression is different from ‘baby blues’ due to its longevity.
What causes postpartum depression?
In the first few weeks after the childbirth, it becomes difficult for a mother to adjust to the new life. Most of the new moms feel frustrated, anxious, tired, sad and overwhelmed. It depends on your race, ethnicity, age and psychological conditions. At the time of birth, if partners are having differences and fights among them or if the mother is suffering from any mental issue than there is a high probability of postpartum depression to occur. There are two main causes of PPD:
- Hormonal changes during the childbirth.
- Changes in the daily routine like loss of sleep, appetite, changed body structure, increased stress.
What are Symptoms of Postpartum Depression?
The symptoms can vary from mild to extreme depending on the mental and psychological condition of a mother. It is a mood disorder, therefore changes usually occur in mood and behaviour. The most common symptoms of PPD are
- Sudden mood swings
- Being Constantly sad
- Crying without any reason.
- Feeling sad, worried or overwhelmed
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Suffering from eating disorders
- Problem in concentrating
- Not having affection or love for the baby
- Not enjoying life
- Sudden anger
- Loss of energy
- Loss of interest
- Fighting a lot or showing no response
In extreme cases of postpartum depression, it becomes a severe psychological issue. In that case, the symptoms are
- Hurting the baby and neglecting him entirely.
- The mother might start to hurt herself.
- Hearing weird voices from the surroundings, feeling paranoid (in extreme cases)
Who can get Postpartum Depression?
Not every mother is prone to PTD. It can affect any mother but some women are more at risk than others. The risk factors include
- Any type of depression in past.
- Family history of depression.
- Serious stress during pregnancy.
- Complicated medical conditions during pregnancy and after childbirth.
- Lack of social support.
- Difficulty in getting pregnant.
- Being a mom of multiple babies (like twins, triplets).
- Being a teen mom.
- Premature birth.
- A baby who is born weak or hospitalized.
How the Postpartum Depression Affects the Baby?
The bad condition of a mother can severely affect a baby. Studies have shown that severe and continuous postpartum depression can impart adverse impacts on a child. Researchers have shown a relation between postpartum depression and delayed cognitive development. Speech is also common in such children whose mothers have suffered from PPD. Such children fail to perform well in their academics.
How postpartum depression affects fathers?
According to a research of 2010, 4% of fathers suffer depression in the first year of childbirth. By the child’s 12th 1 out 5 fathers have suffered depression. This depression is because of sudden responsibilities associated with the child. The stress of providing a child with a better living standard and home becomes depression sometimes.
How to treat postpartum depression?
Treatment of PPD is important for the well-being of the mother and family as a whole. Postpartum depression is curable. The sooner it is treated greater will be the probability of recovery. If someone sees the above symptoms in the new mother, he or she should immediately take her to the doctor. Combination of psychotherapy and medication is preferred for PPD.
The treatment includes
- Being open about any problem
- Increased self-care (get enough sleep, eat to full, exercise, yoga, relax)
- Take social support by joining some group
- The family should support such mother and change their orientation towards her.
- Take proper medication.
Postpartum depression can last from one month to one year. Early diagnosis of PPD is important. Often the blood tests are taken to diagnose it. Medication from the doctor will relieve the stress and psychotherapy will increase the trust and confidence of the patient. PPD is a real condition which should be dealt with extreme care and love.
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