Pregnancy and postpartum depression
Postpartum Depression – “You aren’t alone and you don’t need to suffer alone.”
Pregnancy can be a very exciting time for expecting mothers, but it is also a period of transition and change. What many people don’t realize is that pregnancy can sometimes lead to postpartum depression.
Although, This article will discuss the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression, risk factors, different types of post-depression, and how to get help.
What is postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression is a serious medical condition that can affect mothers after having a baby.
Postpartum depression (PPD) is a physiological, emotional, and behavioral transformation that some women experience after giving birth. The episode generally appears four weeks after birth.
It involves feelings of sadness or anxiety, changes in sleeping and eating patterns, loss of interest in daily activities, guilt or shame about the new baby, crying episodes for no apparent reason, and other symptoms associated with clinical depression.
The duration of time between delivery and the start of symptoms is not the only factor considered in determining whether a woman has postpartum depression. A diagnosis is based on both the intensity of the depression and how long it has been present.
What’s the main cause of postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression is caused by a combination of factors. However, it’s not fully understood why some women get postpartum depression while others do not. What are the main causes?
Some researchers believe that many different factors contribute to PPD including:
Biological vulnerability (Hormones)
Genetic predisposition or hormonal changes during pregnancy and after birth. Pregnancy and childbirth often bring about chemical, social, and psychological changes in women. The phrase “postpartum depression” refers to a variety of physical and emotional symptoms that many new parents experience.
After delivery, the hormonal changes occur quickly. The actual relationship between this drop and depression is still being researched. However, it’s understood that estrogen and progesterone, female reproductive hormones, rise tenfold during pregnancy. Then they fall sharply after childbirth. Within three days of giving birth, the amounts of these hormones decrease to their pre-pregnancy levels.
Life stressors such as the new responsibilities of parenting, lack of sleep, and financial pressures can also contribute to postpartum depression.
Lack of social support from family, friends, and one’s partner
When your family and friends, especially your partner, are not supportive of you, it can lead to postpartum depression.
Psychological changes that may lead to postpartum depression include feelings of loss, anger, guilt, and shame. This all can happen after childbirth.
Lack of sleep
When you’re sleep-deprived and overburdened, even small issues may be difficult to address.
You could be concerned about your ability to care for a newborn.
Feelings of inadequacy. You could feel less attractive, lack confidence in your identity, or believe you’ve lost control over your life. Any one of these problems can lead to postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression signs and symptoms
Signs of postpartum depression are difficult to spot. Symptoms can appear at any time during pregnancy or the first year after delivery. They differ from person to person, and they might include the following:
- Trouble sleeping
- Appetite changes
- Severe fatigue
- Lower libido
- Frequent mood changes
- Feelings of anger or irritability
- Lack of interest in the baby
- Crying and sadness
- Feelings of guilt, shame, or hopelessness
- Loss of interest, joy, and also, pleasure in things you used to enjoy
- Although, Possible thoughts of harming the baby or yourself
The following factors may raise the risk of postpartum depression:
Prior to becoming pregnant, or during pregnancy, a history of depression is associated with an increased risk of postpartum blues.
- Although, Age at the time of pregnancy (the younger, the higher the chances)
- Unwanted pregnancy
- Children (the more children you have, the more likely you are to be depressed in later pregnancy).
- • Personal or family history of depression, anxiety or postpartum depression and mood disorders
- • Going through an extremely stressful event, such as a job loss or serious illness.
- • Having a child with special needs or health problems.
- • Having twins or triplets
- Limited social support
- Living alone
- Marital conflict
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD or PMS)
- Inadequate support in caring for the baby
- Financial stress
- Complications in pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding
- Mothers whose babies are in neonatal intensive care (NICU)
- Mothers who have undergone infertility treatments
- Women with thyroid imbalance
- Women with any form of diabetes (type 1, type 2 or gestational)
What are the different types of postpartum depression?
The most common type of postpartum blues, also called baby blues, refers to the period of sadness that women experience after giving birth. It appears in the first few weeks following childbirth and typically only lasts a few days or hours. It fades completely within about two weeks.
Another frequent mood problem that occurs following childbirth is Postpartum Anxiety Disorder. Because many individuals think new moms are naturally anxious, it goes undiagnosed quite frequently. As a result, some postpartum anxiety symptoms might appear “natural.” Pospartum anxiety is different from other forms of PPD because its symptoms include far more anxious behaviors than primarily depressed behavior
The signs and symptoms of postpartum anxiety include:
- Excessive worrying about anything and everything, including your baby’s well being or other aspects of life in general. Postpartum anxiety is often associated with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). People who have OCD will obsess and worry over things like germs, illness, death of a loved one or even bad thoughts.
- Frequent feelings of dread related to your baby’s safety including fears that he would be kidnapped or injured in some way
- A feeling as though something terrible is about to happen (based on past trauma )
- Persistent fears and worries
- High tension and stress
- Inability to relax
Postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Intrusive and persistent thoughts are typical symptoms of postpartum OCD. These ideas generally involve harming—or even murdering—the infant. Because mothers with postpartum OCD are aware of and frightened by their own apprehensions, these ideas almost never get carried out.
Compulsive behaviors, such as continuous cleaning and changing of the baby, are additional characteristics of postpartum OCD. Because mothers are ashamed and embarrassed by these ideas and actions, postpartum OCD often goes undetected and untreated.
Postpartum panic disorder
Postpartum panic disorder is a severe form of anxiety that affects new moms. Women with postpartum panic disorder have intense anxiety and frequent panic attacks.
Symptoms of postpartum panic attacks include:
- Shortness of breath
- Tightening of the chest
- Heart palpitations
- Consistent and excessive worry/fear
Fear of dying, losing control, or going insane are the most common. Women who have experienced anxiety and panic attacks in the past are more likely to develop postpartum panic disorder. Postpartum panic disorder is also more likely in women with thyroid problems.
Postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
This is a one-of-a-kind type of postpartum depression. Like other types of PTSD, symptoms of postpartum PTSD are caused by a real or perceived threat to the mother. It’s most common after childbirth.
Women who have previously endured traumatic events, such as sexual assault or violence, are more likely to develop postpartum PTSD.
Postpartum PTSD symptoms include:
- Reliving the trauma in flashbacks and memories
- Avoiding trauma triggers
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Difficulty sleeping
- Feeling detached or numb to reality
Hallucinations, delusional ideas, severe agitation, hyperactivity, confusion and poor judgment were some of the symptoms of postpartum psychosis.
Mothers suffering from postpartum psychosis are unable to recognize their conduct and behavior. As a result, this illness poses a significant risk of suicide or infanticide.
Postpartum depression treatment
If you are suffering from postpartum depression seek help right away because it is not something that will go away by itself. Treatment options include a combination of psychological counseling (i.e., talk therapy) and medication to help improve moods.
It is important for both the mother and her baby to receive early detection and treatment, as this can lead to improved survival rates.
The treatment for postpartum depression is dependent on the kind of symptoms and how severe they are. Anti-anxiety or antidepressant medicines, psychotherapy, and participation in a support group for emotional support and education are all possible treatments.
In the case of postpartum psychosis, medications used to treat psychosis are typically administered. Hospitalization is frequently required as well.