Postpartum Depression, What to Expect and What to Do?

Postpartum Depression, What to Expect and What to Do? Upon giving birth, up to 80% of new mothers suffer from a light kind of melancolia known as baby blues, whereas 10-15% go through a state of deep emotional turmoil known as postpartum depression. The ways to tackle it are below in this article.

First Signs of a Postpartum Depression

Understanding postpartum depression is not easy. Mothers face a new, intense emotional situation that is completely unknown to them. The burden of new responsibilities and the duties of meeting the needs of the baby can give rise to new feelings of insecurity that can be tremendously difficult to handle. Strong hormonal swings and intense fatigue can only make matters more delicate.

Oftentimes, the overwhelming feeling disappears thanks to resting and family support, but 10-15% of new mothers dwell deeper into it. Postpartum depression usually manifests around the third month to the first year after birth giving. If you do not start feeling better 2 weeks after child-bearing, you may want to consider asking for professional help.

Symptoms: Depression or Baby Blues?

Baby blues is a gloomy mood that usually takes place on the third day after giving birth, lasting up to 2 weeks. The typical symptoms include:

  • Strong mood swings
  • Deep sadness
  • Feelings of anxiety
  • Irritability

This is not a dangerous condition, baby blues are caused by abrupt hormonal changes that naturally take place after giving birth, added on top of the physical and psychological stress of such a testing moment.

Signs of Depression

New mothers may feel perfectly fine for weeks until something starts changing. They may begin feeling sad, fatigued, indifferent, overwhelmed by dark thoughts and may lay in bed for the whole day.

Such symptoms may be predicting an upcoming depression, which may show varying degrees of gravity, from transitory and mild to more grounded and long-lasting, even leading to postpartum psychosis, one of the rarest and most extreme forms of postpartum depression.

If you are experiencing the following symptoms, it is important to get a diagnosis and treatment plan as soon as you can:

  • Trouble sleeping
  • Permanent discouragement
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Feeling of worthlessness
  • Intense guilt
  • Irritability and aggressiveness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Constant crying
  • Indifference towards life
  • Lack of self-care
  • Dark, suicidal thoughts

Risk Factors

The causes of postpartum depression can greatly differ from one person to another, although there’s a series of risk factors that can predispose a person to suffer from it:

Psychological Grounds

  • Prior traumatic experiences
  • Clinical history of depression
  • Low self-esteem

Biological Factors

  • Sleep deprivation
  • Physical exhaustion
  • Hormonal changes

Psychosocial factors

  • Low socioeconomic status
  • Stressful work life
  • Lack of support from family or your partner

How to React Against Postpartum Depression

A postpartum depression is not a place we want to hang around for long. To deal with it, we should implement a series of strategies:

  1. Self help

    A depression is a very intimate, personal feeling. We must begin by addressing it with a series of positive actions:

    • Allowing ourselves to rest. Fatigue is closely linked to depression
    • Keep ourselves healthy by following a healthy diet
    • Not neglecting our personal hygiene: taking to time to shower, bathe, wear clothes and make up, this will help keeping our morale and self-esteem
    • Going out for walks in nature, whether alone or with the baby
    • Exercising, even if just a little
    • Taking vitamin supplements, especially vitamin D
  2. Help by loved ones

    Relying on a solid network of friends and family is key to overcoming any kind of depression. Asking for help when needed, whether for house chores or taking care of the baby, can get us a long way. Communicating our needs, especially to our partner, and staying close to each other is key.

  3. Professional help

    Therapy can have a tremendous effect on our well-being. We may want to ask around for personal references, cognitive-behavioral therapy is considered the best to tackle postpartum depression.

  4. Pharmacological help

    Psychologists and doctors report positive results on the use of pharmacological drugs to combat depression. These should not be self-diagnosed, however, and their intake should carefully take into consideration the doctor’s guidelines.

  5. Is your new body bothering you?

    Self-estrangement has been linked to postpartum depression due to the radical body change experienced during and after pregnancy. New mothers whose postpartum depression persists despite sport routines and diet may consider plastic surgery. The cost of a mommy makeover makes it an affordable choice that can have a tremendous impact on self-esteem.

Postpartum Depression in Fathers

Symptoms are less apparent in men, due to their hesitance to open up emotionally, but they also suffer from postpartum depression. Men may express their anguish with irritation, angriness, violence, or even alcohol abuse, on top of deep sadness and crying. Male postpartum depression is a common condition in 8% of fathers in the first 3 months after giving birth, a percentage which rises in the 3 to 6 months period, generally disappearing after. In this case, expressing the ok-ness of asking for help is a good way of solving the issue.




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Postpartum Depression, What to Expect and What to Do?