How To Deal With Signs Of Postpartum Depression

How To Deal With Signs Of Postpartum Depression

What are the signs of postpartum depression?

Some of the major signs of postpartum depression include; loss of appetite, weight loss, lack of regular sleep, lack of motivation, feeling of worthlessness, hopelessness, guilt, etc.

Childbirth comes with a whole lot of emotions.

New mothers usually go through the "baby blues" where they endure a range of different emotions from joy, to sadness, to fear, anxiety, etc.

When the feeling of sadness and anxiety becomes too regular or severe, a new parent might be said to be experiencing postpartum depression.

Postpartum Depression Therapists in Colorado

Seth Boughton, SWC

Seth Boughton, SWC

Colorado
(720) 449-4121
Deja Howard, MSW, SWC

Deja Howard, MSW, SWC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Jenifer Seas, LCSW

Jenifer Seas, LCSW

Colorado Springs, Colorado
(719) 452-4374
Olivia Woodring, LPCC, NCC

Olivia Woodring, LPCC, NCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Samantha Zavala, LPCC

Samantha Zavala, LPCC

Aurora, Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Vanessa Dewitt, LCSW

Vanessa Dewitt, LCSW

Pueblo, Colorado
(719) 696-3439
Jessica Gutierrez-Gaytan, SWC

Jessica Gutierrez-Gaytan, SWC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Marie Whatley LPCC

Marie Whatley LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Abigail Corless, LPCC

Abigail Corless, LPCC

Colorado
(719) 345-2424
Jacquelynne Sils, LPC

Jacquelynne Sils, LPC

Colorado
(719) 696-3439

What Is Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression is a much more severe form of the "baby blues". The "baby blues" is not a new phenomenon for mothers. 

In the first few days after childbirth, new mothers usually experience symptoms such as loss of appetite, irritation, anxiety, sleeplessness, mood swings, detachment, etc. These "baby blues" symptoms are also signs of postpartum depression and they usually last for a few days.

When the baby blues symptoms start to linger for weeks and months, postpartum depression might be the case. Postpartum depression (PPD) is a form of depression suffered mostly by mothers after childbirth. 

It is not and should not be seen as a sign of weakness on the part of the mother but as one of the complications of childbirth.

Although the cause is usually attributed to hormonal changes, PPD can also occur as a result of psychological adjustment to motherhood, fatigue, lack of support, etc. 

Women who have a family history of depression or have had one form of depression or the other in the past are more prone to getting postpartum depression. 

Other known causes of postpartum depression include;

● Lack of support from family and friends

● Critical premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

● Ill health during pregnancy, giving birth prematurely, difficult labor

● Strenuous relationship with a spouse or significant other.

Signs And Symptoms Of PPD

As mentioned earlier, most women go through the "baby blues" phase where they experience some signs and symptoms similar to postpartum depression. 

The difference between the "baby blues" and PPD is that while baby blues last for a maximum of two weeks, PPD lasts for months and can even go into years.

Some of the signs of postpartum depression include;

● Unexplainable loss of weight

● Restlessness

● Irritability

● Sleeping difficulties

● Lack of motivation to do things

● The feeling of lack of attachment to the baby

● Suicidal thoughts

● Thoughts of harming the baby

Postpartum depression also affects babies in a lot of ways. For example, a mother going through it may exhibit behavior harmful to the child such as missing pediatrician's appointments, not noticing when the child is ill, etc. 

Children brought up by mothers with postpartum depression have a higher risk of obesity than their counterparts. For this reason, it is necessary to deal with the signs of postpartum depression before it leads to something fatal.

Postpartum Psychosis

Postpartum psychosis is a much more severe form of postpartum depression. Here, the mother has lost touch with reality. 

Symptoms include insomnia, delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, abnormal mood swings, high sex drive, agitations, anxiety, depression, and other signs of postpartum depression.

Postpartum psychosis is the leading cause of infanticide and should be reported immediately when symptoms are noticed in a new mother.

In cases where the mother starts feeling suicidal and having thoughts of hurting the baby, help should be called for immediately as the mother might be suffering from postpartum psychosis.

Prevention of Postpartum Depression

As of now, there are no surefire prevention measures to deal with the signs of postpartum depression. 

But there are a few preparations that can be done to help reduce the risk and keep the mind and body of the prospective/new mother ready. Some of these preparative measures include;

● Understanding that it can happen to anybody: Postpartum depression does not mean weakness and it can happen to anybody. Putting this at the back of your mind will go a long way to prepare the mind for what is to come after childbirth. 

Also, understanding PPD will make it easier to seek help when the signs and symptoms do show up.

● Support from family and friends: Studies have shown that showering the prospective/new mother with love, attention, and care can help reduce the risk of depression. 

New and prospective mothers can be shown care through visits, frequent phone-based peer support, exercising with friends, spousal support, etc.

● Antidepressants: This is a good preventive measure for people who have once had postpartum depression or have a family history with depression. These antidepressants can be taken even before the signs of postpartum depression are seen. 

However, a physician's direction is needed as some antidepressants are not suitable for breastfeeding mothers.

● Another preventive preparation is staying away from substances like caffeine and alcohol after childbirth. A healthy lifestyle will keep the mind in the right shape.

● It is very beneficial to sleep when the baby sleeps.

Treatment of Postpartum Depression

Treatment Postpartum depression can be treated through counseling (therapy sessions), support from spouse, family, and friends, and the use of antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs. 

The use of antidepressants and anti-anxiety medicine does not only help to treat regular depression. 

With the help of a doctor, it can also be safe for use even for breastfeeding mothers. Some severe cases can be treated using electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

Conclusion

Postpartum depression is a regular complication of childbirth and it should not be seen as abnormal or a sign of weakness. Some of the signs of postpartum depression are the same as that of the "baby blues" just that the symptoms last longer and are more severe.

The signs of postpartum depression can be dealt with by psychotherapy, the use of antidepressants and anxiety medicines, and in some cases, electroconvulsive therapy.

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July 17th, 2024

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