Postpartum Blues or Postpartum Depression?
For many years the words postpartum depression has been almost taboo. No one really spoke about it and certainly no one wanted to admit how they were feeling. A brand new healthy baby is supposed to bring joy and happiness into your life. So why are you feeling like this?
By definition postpartum depression is,
"Postpartum depression is moderate to severe depression in a woman after she has given birth. It may occur soon after delivery or up to a year later. Most of the time, it occurs within the first 3 months after delivery." - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0004481/
Postpartum depression is very real, especially to the women who are experiencing it. We must not allow this condition to continue being "taboo". It is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. You are not alone and there are people who want to help. Postpartum depression can become very dangerous and must be discussed with a medical professional.
Who is at Risk for Postpartum Depression
- Depression and/or anxiety before pregnancy
- If you have a family member who has dealt with postpartum depression
- No support from family and/or friends
- If you experienced postpartum depression in a previous pregnancy
- If you have financial problems
- Unplanned or unwanted pregnancy
- If you are experiencing problems with your significant other
- Experienced stressful situations prior to pregnancy (job loss, death of a loved one, ect.)
- If you abuse alcohol and/or drugs
Is it Postpartum Depression or Something Else?
With all of the live changes after recently having a baby, along with the sudden hormonal changes. Many women experience what is called "the baby blues". So how do you know whether you are experiencing the baby blues, postpartum depression, or postpartum psychosis?
The baby blues- The baby blues affects a large amount of women, anywhere from 50-80%. And are thought to be due to the hormonal changes women go through shortly after birth. The baby blues or postpartum blues are less severe than postpartum depression. And include symptoms such as irritability, depression, anxiety, and sadness. Luckily, the baby blues generally only last a few days after your baby is born and you are soon back to your old self.
Postpartum Depression- Postpartum depression is more severe than the baby blues and lasts a longer period of time. It is also less common than the baby blues affecting approximately 10%-40% of postpartum women. Postpartum depression can set in anywhere from a month after birth to a year after birth. Women experiencing postpartum depression often have difficulties caring for their infant and need to seek medical attention.
Postpartum Psychosis- Postpartum psychosis is the most severe of the three conditions. Although rare, postpartum psychosis is still very real. Usually setting in approximately 3 weeks after giving birth and requiring immediate medical attention. Women with postpartum psychosis are often delusional and experience hallucinations. Untreated this condition can become a very dangerous situation for both the mother and baby. As women with this postpartum condition may harm themselves and/or their babies.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
- Frequent crying
- Feeling of hopelessness
- Sleep disturbances
- Feeling lonely
- Weight loss
- Thoughts of death and/or suicide
- Feeling trapped
- Trouble concentrating
- Trouble making decisions
- Feelings of guilt
- Negative feelings towards the baby
- Feelings of harming the baby (not usually acted upon in postpartum depression)
- Fear of being alone with the baby
- Little to no interest in the baby
- Obsessively worrying about the baby
Treatment of Postpartum Depression
The first step in the treatment of postpartum depression is to tell someone. Do not keep your feelings to yourself, hoping that they will just go away. And do not be afraid to ask for help. You are not expected to do everything.
- Talk therapy (psychotherapy)
- Support groups
Or a mixture of these treatments. Remember if you are thinking of harming yourself or your baby. Do not wait. Seek medical attention now.
Facts About Postpartum Depression
- Men can experience postpartum depression.
- If you are experiencing the baby blues, you are at an increased risk of developing postpartum depression.
- There is no single cause for postpartum depression.
- Usually develops within 3 months after giving birth.
- Women can continue breastfeeding with some types of medication used to treat postpartum depression.
Post Partum Depression Conclusion
Postpartum depression is a very real and serious health condition experienced by 10-40% of postpartum women. This does not make them bad mother's. Nor does it mean that they don't love their babies.
Lets take the taboo out of the words "post partum depression" and speak up for ourselves and others. The more that is known about postpartum depression the more we can help each other. Education is key.
Asking for help and getting treatment is not a weakness. Rather it shows strength. Don't suffer in silence, let your voice be heard and let others help.
Severe Mood Swings
Rapid Mood Swings
Lack of Joy in Life
Attempts To Harm Yourself And/Or Baby
Decreased Need for or Inability to Sleep
Withdrawal from Family and Friends
Difficulty Communicating at Times
Intense Irritabilty and Anger
Feelings of Shame, Guilt or Inadequacy
Paranoia and Suspiciousness
Difficulty Bonding with Baby
Lack of Interest in Sex
Loss of Appetite
Hallucinations, Strange Beliefs and Delusions
Postpartum Support International goal is to increase awareness among public and professional communities about the emotional changes that women experience during pregnancy and postpartum. PSI Coordinators provide support, encouragement, and informati
- Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) - Sample Test
Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) created with Easy Test Creator.
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