Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Postpartum Depression

Sometimes, a new mother's problems extend beyond those nine months.

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Postpartum depression (PPD) refers to depression that a parent, usually the mother, feels after having a baby. The intensity of it, however, may vary from person to person or from circumstances to circumstances. It is important to note that PPD is different than the regular ‘Baby Blues’ most new parents tend to experience. These ‘Baby Blues’ can be categorized as fatigue or stress that occur during the first few days of having a baby; but they usually subside and eventually go away on their own. PPD symptoms, however, last longer and are known to be more serious. As many as 70-80 percent of women experience varying levels of postpartum mood disorders, ranging from baby blues to PPD. The exact statistics for women suffering from the latter is difficult to determine as most women do not realize what is happening to them and, therefore, don’t seek help.

What are the symptoms of PPD?

Symptoms of PPD are very similar to those of depression but since the condition is directly related to giving birth, the list of complaints may also include child-nurturing-related-anxieties.

Most common symptoms:

  • Excessive crying: It may seem like you are crying randomly and more often than usual.
  • Changes in appetite: You may start eating more or way too less than usual and cannot explain the changes.
  • Feeling disconnected from your baby: Fear that you’re unable to fully care for your child or you’re having trouble forming a bond with him/her may also engulf you.
  • Experiencing trouble sleeping: Apart from your baby keeping you awake, you may find it difficult to fall asleep even when your child is sleeping.
  • Losing interest in your appearance or in daily activities: Those suffering from PPD might also lose interest in socializing or in maintaining their personal hygiene.
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your child: This is the extreme form of PPD and if you or, anyone you know, is going through something similar then you must seek help immediately.
  • Feeling overwhelmed, empty, sad or hopeless

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or other related symptoms, speak to your doctor and they will provide you with a correct diagnosis.

Who is at risk for PPD?

Some women are at a higher risk for developing postpartum depression than others. Risk factors include:

  • Depression prior to being pregnant.
  • Traumatic or stressful life events around the time of giving birth; such as the loss of a loved one or losing a job.
  • Being a first-time mother, as it can be quite overwhelming and the expectations of being a mother do not quite live up to the reality.
  • Lack of support from friends and family, especially a partner.
  • Substance abuse.
  • Mixed feelings about wanting to have a child in the first place.
  • Having a baby with birth complications.

How should PPD be treated?

PPD needs to be addressed the right away. Many women do not report feelings of PPD and it, therefore, goes untreated for long periods of time. There is a higher recovery rate for early treatment of PPD so do speak to your doctor for the appropriate course of treatment be it therapy or medication.

Fathers with Depression

Approximately 4 percent of fathers experience symptoms of depression after having a child. The reasons could range from being overwhelmed and experiencing feelings of inadequacy to wanting more time with their spouse and being unable to cope with the many changes that come with parenthood.

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