Postpartum Depression: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment Options
Are you feeling emotionless, sad, and empty after childbirth? These are postpartum depression symptoms and it is normal! Let us discuss in detail all you might want to know about postpartum depression or PPD.
Bringing new life into the world is a remarkable journey, filled with joy, wonder, and an overwhelming sense of love. However, for some new mothers, this experience can also be accompanied by a range of challenging emotions and feelings.
Postpartum depression (PPD) is a common and severe mental health condition that affects many women after giving birth, and it can have a severe impact on both the mother’s well-being and the overall family dynamic.
In this blog, we will delve into the topic of postpartum depression symptoms, exploring its signs and some available treatment options. By shedding light on this important issue, we hope to foster greater awareness and support for those who may be experiencing PPD, as well as provide valuable information for their loved ones.
What is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression is a significant mental health condition that impacts most women following childbirth. In this situation, a new mother may experience physical, social, hormonal, and emotional changes after delivering the baby. However, it is not the same as the “baby blues,” which many women experience after giving birth. “Baby blues” are mild and typically resolve within a few days or weeks.
In contrast, PPD is a more severe and long-lasting form of depression that can affect a woman’s ability to function and care for herself and her baby.
Postpartum Depression Symptoms: What To Look For?
Postpartum depression symptoms manifest differently in each new mother as pregnancy and childbirth experiences differ among women. Let us understand some of the most common postpartum depression symptoms, which are as follows:
- Many new mothers experience sadness, and irritation, and undergo certain mood swings that range from tearful to terrible.
- Women after giving birth may have the thought of harming themselves or their babies.
- Feelings of loneliness and excessive crying are also common in new mothers in the postpartum phase.
- Sleeping too much or very little is also very common among new mothers.
- Mothers who are going through postpartum depression have difficulty bonding with their babies.
- After childbirth, some women also experience changes in food habits such as overeating or a loss of appetite.
- Most of the time, new mothers feel anxious and have difficulty thinking or focusing.
- Chronic headaches and stomach problems are also the most common problems for women after pregnancy.
Causes of Postpartum Depression
The exact cause of postpartum depression has not yet been discovered. However, researchers believe that various social, biological, and psychological factors can cause depression in new mothers.
- A sudden drop in the levels of oestrogen and progesterone poses a significant impact on a woman’s mood and can lead to postpartum depression.
- Physical changes during and after pregnancy, including caring for the necessities of newborns, increase stress levels in most women after pregnancy.
- Traumatic birth experiences and complications during delivery can significantly affect a woman’s health.
- Women who have a family history of depression, anxiety, or any mental health issues are at higher risk of developing postpartum depression.
If postpartum depression is not treated at the right time, it can affect both the mother and the family. If you are going through this health condition after pregnancy, it can make it hard for you to take care of yourself and your baby. Some of the complications of postpartum depression include the following:
- It is hard to bond with the baby
- Extreme fatigue
- Unable to focus
- Increased risk of long-term depression
- Risk of self-harm and suicidal thoughts
Treatment Options for Postpartum Depression
Several effective treatment options are available to treat postpartum depression symptoms. The choice of treatment will depend on the severity of symptoms, the individual’s preferences, and the healthcare provider’s recommendations. Treatment for postpartum depression can include certain types of medications, therapies, and some natural remedies.
Some of the most common treatment options for postpartum depression are mentioned below:
The very first treatment to treat postpartum depression includes medications such as antidepressants. The use of medication can address immediate issues caused by postpartum depression, such as changes in sleep patterns and appetite.
Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, is a form of treatment that assists individuals with mental health conditions and those facing emotional difficulties. In this treatment option, you meet a certified counsellor with whom you can talk regularly. It can be short-term or long-term, depending on the severity of your condition.
Doctors can also perform psychotherapy with a combination of some medicines.
– Support groups
Support groups play a vital role in treating postpartum depression. Joining support groups offers you an opportunity to share experiences, and gain insights, and you will receive practical advice from others who have gone through the same situation.
– Additional therapies
Under this programme, complementary therapies are used to treat patients with postpartum depression. These complementary therapies, which include acupuncture, yoga, and massage, can help reduce stress, promote relaxation, and improve overall well-being.
o Lifestyle changes
Engaging in regular physical exercise, maintaining a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and practising stress reduction techniques like mindfulness or relaxation exercises can help alleviate symptoms.
It is important to consult your healthcare provider before taking any medications or treatment options.
How to Cope with Postpartum Depression?
There are multiple ways in which you can cope with postpartum depression.
– Exercise regularly
– Maintain a healthy diet
– Take rest
– Resist isolation
– Create time for yourself
When you have postpartum depression, you may also experience mood swings, changes in appetite, and struggle to bond with the newborn.
Fortunately, there are various treatment options available that can help individuals going through the condition. Postpartum depression symptoms should not be ignored or dismissed. We can help new mothers who are going through postpartum depression through awareness and support. Personalised treatment plans from doctors speed up the recovery process.