What You Should Know?
Pregnancy and motherhood are the happiest periods in a woman’s life. The baby birth can cause a jumble of powerful emotions, right from excitement and joy to anxiety and fear. However, it can also cause in something you might not imagine- depression. Having a baby is very stressful, no matter how much you love your baby. Considering the sleep deprivation, lack of time of taking care of yourself, newer responsibilities, there is no surprise that many new moms feel like they are on an emotional rollercoaster. In fact, mood swings and mild depression are so common in motherhood that it has its own name- baby blues. Baby blues normally begin within the first 2 to 3 days after delivery and may last for up to two weeks. But some new moms experience a severe, lasting form of depression known as postpartum depression. Let’s have a look about postpartum depression and how it affects mothers and of course babies.
What is postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression (PPD) also called postnatal depression, is not a weakness or character flaw. It is a serious mental illness that involves the brain and affects your physical health and behaviour. Typically this condition develops within 4 to 6 weeks after delivery, sometimes take several months to appear. When you have depression, then sad, empty feelings and suicide thought don’t do away and can interfere with your day to day life. You might feel unconnected to your little one, or you might not love or care for the baby. These kinds of feelings can be mild to severe. The diagnosis of PPD is based not only on the length of time between delivery and onset but also based on the depression severity.
Why PPD differs from baby blues?
Most of the moms experience at least some symptoms of baby blues immediately after giving childbirth. This is because of the sudden hormonal change in mother after delivery, combined with sleep deprivation, fatigue, isolation, stress etc. Also, you might feel more overwhelmed, emotionally fragile and more upset. Usually, this will begin with in the first couple of days after delivery. The baby blues are perfectly normal, but when these symptoms last for a few weeks or get worse, then you have the postpartum depression. Postpartum depression may be mistaken for baby blues at first, but the signs and symptoms are more intense, last longer and reach up to a point where the mother cannot take care of herself, her baby and other daily tasks.
What are the symptoms of PPD?
Symptoms of postpartum depression are similar to what happens normally following delivery. They include mood swings, difficulty sleeping, appetite changes, excessive crying, excessive fatigue and decreased libido. However, these are also accompanied by other signs of major depression, which are not normal after delivery, and may contain depressed mood; loss of pleasure; fear that you’re not a good mother; feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and helplessness; reduced motivation, intense irritability & anger; overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy; withdrawing from family & friends; difficulty bonding with your baby; thoughts of harming yourself or your baby; thoughts of death or suicide. These are certain red flags for postpartum depression.
What are the treatments for PPD?
If you have diagnosed with postpartum depression, it is best to seek treatment as soon as possible. If it is detected late or not at all the condition might worsen. The common types of treatment for PPD are:
- Therapy- During therapy, you can freely talk to a therapist or psychologist, or a post-partum caretaker to learn strategies to change how depression makes you feel, think and act.
- Medicine. There avail various kinds of medicines for postpartum depression. All of them must be prescribed by your doctor. The most common type is antidepressants which can help relieve signs of depression and some can allow taking while you are breastfeeding.
- Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) – This is used in extreme cases to treat postpartum depression. It involves a brief electrical stimulation of the brain while the mother is under anaesthesia. It is usually administered by a panel of trained medical professionals that comprises a psychiatrist, an anesthesiologist, and a nurse.
All these treatments can be used alone or together. Talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of taking medicine to treat PPD when you are breastfeeding. Having depression can affect your baby. Getting proper treatment is very important for you and your baby. Taking medicines for depression or going to the therapy does not make you a failure or bad mother. Experiencing postpartum is nobody’s fault. It is a medical condition that requires proper treatment. Taking help is a sign of strength, if your loved one is experiencing postpartum depression, the best thing you can do is to offer support. Give her a pause from her baby care duties and you can contact MyWomb, the best newborn care provider in Kerala. Our experts are capable to efficiently dealing with the needs of a new baby and also help mommies to beat their motherhood blues and depression with the right service.