There’s no doubt that having a baby is one of the biggest and happiest moments in a woman’s life. While life with a new baby can be absolutely thrilling and rewarding, it can also be stressful at times.
Many physical and emotional changes take place in a woman when she is pregnant and after she gives birth. These changes can leave new mothers feeling sad, anxious, afraid, or confused. For many women, these feelings, called the baby blues, go away quickly. But when these feelings persist or get worse, it could be Postpartum Depression.
Postpartum Depression (PPD) is a condition that describes a range of physical and emotional changes that many mothers can have after having a baby. PPD can be treated with medication and counseling. Talk to your doctor right away if you think you have PPD.
Types Of Postpartum Depression (PPD):
Baby Blues happen in many women in the days right after childbirth. A new mother can have sudden mood swings, such as feeling very happy and immediately feeling very sad. She may cry for no reason and can feel impatient, irritable, restless, anxious, lonely and sad. The baby blues may last only a few hours or as long as one to two weeks after delivery.
Postpartum Depression (PPD) can happen a few days or even months after childbirth. PPD often keeps a woman from doing the things she needs to do every day. When a woman’s ability to function is affected, this is a sure sign that she needs medical help right away. If a woman does not get treatment for PPD, symptoms can get worse and last for as long as one year.
Postpartum psychosis is a very serious mental illness that can affect new mothers. It can strike quickly, often within the first three months of childbirth. Women can lose touch with reality, often hearing things that aren’t actually happening, like a person talking and seeing things differently from what they are. Other symptoms include insomnia, agitation, anger and strange behavior. They need treatment right away and almost always need medication.
Signs Of Postpartum Depression
- Sadness, depression and loss of energy
- Feeling restless or irritable
- Feeling sad or crying a lot
- Having no energy
- Having headaches, chest pains, heart palpitations (the heart beating fast and feeling like it is skipping beats), numbness, or hyperventilation (fast and shallow breathing)
- Not being able to sleep or being very tired, or both
- Not being able to eat and weight loss
- Overeating and weight gain
- Trouble focusing, remembering, or making decisions
- Being overly worried about the baby
- Not having any interest in the baby
- Feeling worthless and guilty
- Being afraid of hurting the baby or yourself
- No interest or pleasure in activities, including sex
- Rest well. Always try to nap when the baby naps.
- Stop putting pressure on yourself to do everything. Do only as much as you can.
- Talk to your husband, partner, family, and friends about how you are feeling.
- Do not spend a lot of time alone. Involve yourself in light activities as much as you can.
- Spend time alone with your husband or partner.
- Talk to your doctor about medical treatment. Do not be shy about telling them your concerns. Not all doctors can diagnose PPD. Ask for a referral to a doctor who specializes in treating depression.
- Talk with other mothers, so you can learn from their experiences
A woman may feel anxious after childbirth but not have PPD. She may have what is called postpartum anxiety or panic disorder. Signs of this condition include strong anxiety and fear, rapid breathing, fast heart rate, hot or cold flashes, chest pain, and feeling shaky or dizzy. Talk to your doctor right away if you have any of these signs. Medication and counseling can be used to treat postpartum anxiety.
It is important to know that Postpartum Depression (PPD) is treatable and that it will go away. The type of treatment will depend on how severe the PPD is. PPD can be treated with medication (antidepressants) and psychotherapy. If a woman is breastfeeding, she will need to talk to her doctor about taking antidepressants as some of these drugs affect breast milk and should not be used.
Dealing With PPD
If you have PPD, here are a few things you can do to take care of yourself.