POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION, Don’t be afraid to ask for help


Pregnancy is a wonderful phase and one of the greatest feelings one can experience. It is a period of immense happiness coupled with excitement in a couple’s life. For all the joy pregnancy can bring to your life, one must cope with the challenges too.

One such challenge is Postpartum depression (PPD), also called postnatal depression. While Postpartum blues, also known as ‘baby blues’ is a mood disorder which can occur in up to 80% of all mothers post-delivery, is usually characterised by milder depressive symptoms when compared to Postpartum depression. Symptoms for Postpartum blues typically resolve within two weeks. However, if the symptoms last longer than two weeks, there are signs of more serious depression.

Recent research has found that PPD can affect both sexes. It is estimated that 15% of new moms get postpartum depression and also, it affects 1% to 26% fathers if new fathers. It is believed that Postpartum depression may be caused due to the combination of physical and emotional factors.

Causes of Postpartum Depression

While the exact cause of PPD is still unclear, however, the following factors can increase one’s risk of PPD:

  • Hormonal changes following the childbirth as the hormone levels rise when you are pregnant and they suddenly drop when the child is born
  • Emotional stressors such as worries about health of their baby or about how they’ll cope with labor and birth or becoming a parent or financial strain
  • Having a family history of depression and/or other mental health conditions
  • Lack of strong support system where your partner or family don’t help you take care of the baby

Signs and Symptoms of Postpartum Depression

One can experience the following symptoms post-delivery or even during pregnancy. However, if these symptoms seem unusually intense and last longer than two weeks, then you could be having PPD.

Emotional Behavioral   Cognitive
Anger, Irritability, Restlessness Low or no energy – Fatigue Lack of concentration
Feeling of Helplessness Lack of interest in usual activities Poor memory
 Severe Mood Swings Lack of sleep or excess sleep Worry about harming self, baby, or partner
Persistent Sadness Changes in appetite Diminished ability to make decisions or think clearly
Extreme Emptiness Social withdrawal Fear that you cannot take care of the baby
Low self-esteem

 

Postpartum Depression is a medical condition that can easily be treated by sharing your feelings with a professional. Also, one can treat PPD with the following:


Probable Solutions for PPD

  • Talk Therapy/Counselling – Your gynaecologist/counsellor can help you lead your way in making positive changes.
  • Get enough sleep
  • Surrounding yourself with a supportive network of friends and family or support group
  • Medication such as antidepressant as prescribed by doctors/therapist
  • Eat nourishing meals, regularly

Dr. Caroline Alphine

Specialist Obstetrician & Gynaecologist 

Aster Hospital Mankhool 

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