What Is Postpartum Depression?
Having a baby is usually one of the biggest and most exciting events in a woman's life. While caring for a new baby can be joyful and rewarding, it can also be hard and stressful at times. There are many physical and emotional changes that can happen to you after delivery.
These changes can leave some new mothers feeling sad, anxious, afraid, or confused. These feelings are generally referred to as “baby blues.” Many new mothers (60% to 80%) experience these feelings in the days right after childbirth. The “baby blues” typically peak 3 to 5 days after delivery and can last a few hours or days; usually, they resolve within 10 days after childbirth. When these feelings do not go away within a couple weeks postpartum, or the symptoms get worse, a woman may have postpartum depression.
Symptoms of postpartum depression are similar to baby blues, but are stronger:
- Loss of interest in normal activities
- Loss of appetite
- A hard time falling asleep or staying asleep
- Sleeping more than usual
- Over concern for baby or none at all
- Increased crying or tearfulness
- Feeling like you're not good enough
- Impaired concentration or memory
- Feeling worthless, hopeless or overly guilty
- Thoughts about hurting yourself or your baby
If you are concerned about the severity of these feelings or if these feelings do not go away after a week or two, you should contact Professionals for Women's Health in Columbus, OH. Postpartum depression can be a serious condition, however it can be treated with medication and counseling. If postpartum depression is left untreated, symptoms can get worse and last for longer than a year. Prompt treatment can help you return to normal soon. Please call to schedule an appointment to discuss any of these issues.
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What are the Symptoms of the “Baby Blues”?
The “baby blues” are characterized by:
- Mood swings
- Feelings of vulnerability
- Loss of appetite
- Lack of confidence
- Trouble sleeping
- Feeling overwhelmed
What causes postpartum depression?
No one knows for sure what causes postpartum depression, but may be a combination of biological, psychological, and/or social. The symptoms however may be triggered by hormonal changes in a woman’s body during the postpartum period.
How Can I Help Myself Cope?
There are things that you can do to help yourself and maintain a level of postpartum depression self-care during this difficult time in your life.
- Rest! Always try to nap when the baby naps.
- You're not expected to be a “supermom”. Stop putting pressure on yourself to do everything; be realistic and ask other people to help.
- Find someone to talk to and tell them how you’re feeling
- Do not spend a lot of time alone. Get dressed and try to get outdoors everyday to take a walk or run an errand.
- Try and do something for yourself everyday (reading, exercising, taking a bath or meditating).
- Spend time alone with your husband or partner.
- Talk with your health care provider about how you feel and medical treatment.
What Is Postpartum Psychosis?
About 0.1% of women are affected by a rare form of postpartum depression called postpartum psychosis. It usually affects the mother between 3 and 14 days after delivery. Although this condition is rare, it is extremely serious and requires immediate medical attention. Women with postpartum psychosis have delusions and hallucinations that focus on hurting themselves or their babies. Women with signs and symptoms of postpartum psychosis need immediate evaluation and treatment.
WHEN Should I Call?
- If the symptoms of the “baby blues” persist after the second week postpartum or become worse
- If you have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
- If you need to discuss your concerns with your provider
Postpartum depression FAQs
How does postpartum depression treatment work?
There is no one answer for postpartum depression treatment, as the best remedies varydepending on your unique circumstances. However, Professionals for Women's Health recommends a combination of therapy, medication, and self-care. We also suggest seeking out support groups related to this condition, either in-person or online.
Who is more likely to experience postpartum depression?
Several risk factors increase a woman’s chance of developing postpartum depression, including a history of depression, anxiety, or similar disorders; a lack of social support; stressful life events during pregnancy or after childbirth; and previous traumatic experiences. Additionally, women who are pregnant with twins or other multiples, as well as those who have experienced pregnancy loss, are at higher risk.
Is it normal to have setbacks even after treatment?
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for women to experience setbacks during their recovery from postpartum depression. If you find yourself struggling again after making progress, it is important to reach out for help and not be afraid to ask for support from loved ones. Do not hesitate to contact our caring and compassionate team in Columbus if you feel like you are regressing.
How long does postpartum depression last?
Postpartum depression varies in duration. While some may experience symptoms for a few weeks, others might endure it for several months or longer. Typically, if untreated, postpartum depresison can persist for up to a year or more after childbirth. However, with early detection and appropriate treatment, including therapy and medication, symptoms can improve significantly over time.
Don't Hesitate To Call If the "Baby Blues" Go On Too Long
Your postpartum period may be filled with various different emotions. Just remember that there will be a period of adjustment as a new mother and it is normal to feel sadness, fear, anger, and/or anxiety after having your baby. This does not mean that you have failed as a mother.
Remember, too, that every woman and every pregnancy is unique. You may experience these feelings to a greater or lesser extent than your mother or your sister, or to a greater or lesser extent than at the birth of another of your babies.
However, if the “baby blues” do not go away after a week or two, you need to contact your provider about postpartum depression. Prompt treatment can help you return to normal soon. Please call 614-268-8800 to schedule an appointment to discuss any of these issues.