What Is Postpartum Depression?

The birth of a baby is every healthy woman’s dream of heart. For the sake of that, women are ready to come with the handful of pains and problems. However, some young mothers face issues when they least expect – shortly after delivery.

Postpartum depression is a condition, which causes severe mood shifts that affect a mother’s physical and mental well-being. It is a serious condition, which requires effective prevention and, if detected, treatment. Many women experience so called ‘postpartum blues’ – a period of sad mood, which occurs several days after delivery and lasts from a couple of days to a couple of weeks. Although this is far from depression, it requires appropriate care as well. In some cases, “postpartum blues”, which appears to be but a natural reaction to the rigors of being a young mother, has signs similar to those of postpartum depression.

Women, who experience ‘postpartum blues’, have outbursts of sadness, lack of confidence, doubts about their ability to care for their baby, fatigue, irritability, lack of concentration.

In women suffering postpartum depression these symptoms get worse and last longer. They are no longer satisfied about things and businesses they used to enjoy. Other serious symptoms include confusion, unstable mood, lethargy, and total absence of concentration, which directly affect job performance, perception, and quality of life in general. These signs may undermine the woman’s ability to care for her child and require a therapy.

If left without attention, there is a danger of missing the development of postpartum psychosis – an extremely serious condition, which causes suicidal behavior. Women suffering it pose serious threat for themselves and their children. Postpartum psychosis requires intensive pharmaceutical and, in some cases, electroconvulsive therapy. In the latter case, mild electric pulses are applied to brain areas to trigger the production of enzymes and hormones, which dull the symptoms of depression and psychosis.

What problems does it cause?

For women: postpartum depression can overwhelm every part of the woman’s life and drain her of all desires, abilities, and potential. If left untreated, it can evolve into a general depressive disorder, which will be much harder to treat.

For spouses: if the mother goes down with postpartum depression, the father may “catch” it too, especially if he is prone to such disorders. In any event, it will make things much tougher for the father.

For children: a mother’s psychological state will inevitably affect her child’s psyche. The baby may show various signs off stress, such as lengthy crying, insomnia, drowsiness, hypo- or hyperactivity, speech disorders, etc. Not infrequently, childhood stress echoes for the rest of the kid’s life.

What causes it?

Mostly, the disease affects those who have a genetic predisposition to postpartum depression. If someone in your family has a history of the disorder, the risk increases significantly. If you went through postpartum depression after your first delivery, most likely, you will have a similar problem after a second one.

Other risk factors include stress due to job issues, financial problems, pregnancy complications, painful delivery, health issues in your baby, breakup with your spouse, bipolar disorder, etc.

How do I treat it?

To have a correct diagnosis, you should expect your physician to conduct a general examination and offer you a depression-screening questionnaire. Treatment will depend on how severe your case is and whether or not you have any underlying disorders. In most cases, treatment includes psychotherapy (talk therapy) and antidepressants. The former suggests that you can comfortably discuss your problems with the therapist one by one and get to the core of it. Combined with effective and healthy antidepressants, this kind of treatment will help you overcome it within six months.

Prevention is the best cure!

What you have just read is in no way to talk you out of having a baby! Rather, this is a forewarned-is-forearmed thing for women who are most likely to have postpartum depression and who have found out they are pregnant. If you have discovered you are pregnant while being aware of your individual susceptibility to depression, discuss it with your doctor. Your doctor can suggest tons of ways to help you get through the hard times with a minimal loss.

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