Becoming a parent brings about a significant shift in a person’s lifestyle. While parenting can be enjoyable, it also has the potential to be draining and challenging. One possible consequence of giving birth is postpartum depression, which is characterized by a range of emotional highs and lows, excessive crying, fatigue, feelings of guilt and anxiety, and difficulties in attending to the needs of their newborn.
Not only the woman who gave birth is affected by postpartum depression. Adoptive and surrogate parents may also be affected. Following the birth of a child, people go through hormonal, physical, emotional, economical, and social changes.
Type of postpartum depression are the following:
- Postpartum blues or baby blues: After giving birth, the majority of new mothers have postpartum “baby blues,” which frequently include mood changes, crying incidents, anxiety, and trouble sleeping. The first two to three days after delivery are when baby blues typically start, and they can last up to two weeks. The best thing the individual can do is seek out support and make requests for assistance from friends, family, or their partner.
- Postpartum depression: Postpartum depression is more severe kind of depression that some new mothers suffer. Because it can begin during pregnancy and last after giving birth, it is sometimes referred to as peripartum depression. Mild to severe symptoms may start to show up a week after delivery or gradually, even up to a year later. Despite the fact that symptoms can continue for several months, psychotherapy or antidepressants are a very effective forms of treatment.
- Postpartum psychosis: Postpartum psychosis is a severe mood illness that can occasionally appear after giving birth. Since there is a higher chance of suicide and a higher danger of injury to the baby, postpartum psychosis requires immediate medical attention. Hospitalization, counseling, and medication are frequently used as treatments.
It’s important to let those who are experiencing postpartum depression know that they are not alone, and that this condition is not their fault. Postpartum depression is not a reflection of weakness or personal failing, but rather a possible outcome of giving birth. The good news is that effective treatment options are available. Seeking help as soon as possible can help manage the symptoms and strengthen the bond with the newborn.
It’s understandable that some people may feel embarrassed or guilty about their postpartum depression symptoms, and worry that it makes them a bad parent. However, it’s important to recognize that postpartum depression is a very common condition that affects many people. It’s not a reflection of their character or parenting abilities, and they are not alone in their experience.
Depression after childbirth can have a range of symptoms, from mild to severe.
- Baby blues symptoms: Symptoms which pass within a week or two following the baby’s birth, can include:
- Mood swings
- Overwhelming feeling
- Less focus
- Loss of appetite or eating more
- Sleeping difficulty
- Postpartum depression symptoms: At first, postpartum depression may be confused for the baby blues, but the signs and symptoms are more severe and persistent. Postpartum depression may persist for many months or longer if left untreated. Postpartum depression symptoms may include:
- Severe mood swings
- Sever irritability and anger
- Having trouble bonding with their child
- Removing themselves or isolating from friends or family
- Loss of appetite or eating more
- Insomnia or excessive sleeping
- Overwhelming tiredness or loss of energy
- Loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed
- Concern that they are a bad mother
- Feelings of inadequacy, shame, remorse, or worthlessness
- Decline in decision-making, concentration, and mental clarity
- Severe anxiety and panic attacks
- Thoughts of hurting themself or their child
- Consistent thoughts of suicide or death
- Postpartum psychosis: The symptoms of this rare conditions, which typically appears within the first week after delivery, are very severe. Some symptoms could be:
- Confusion and feeling lost
- Overthinking or obsessive thoughts about the baby
- Hallucination or delusion
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Too much energy or feeling upset
- Attempting to harm themselves or the baby
Postpartum psychosis needs to be treated immediately because it might cause life-threatening ideas or actions.
- Postpartum depression to the partner: According to studies, new fathers can also experience postpartum depression. They might experience changes in their regular eating and
sleeping schedules, or they can feel depressed, exhausted, overwhelmed, or anxious. Mothers who have postpartum depression face the same symptoms.
The fathers who are most susceptible to postpartum depression are those who are young, have a history of depression, have interpersonal issues, or are struggling with money. The same negative impact on romantic relationships and child development can be experienced by postpartum depression in fathers, often known as paternal postpartum depression.
If the partner of a new mother is experiencing depression or anxiety during or after the baby’s birth, it’s advisable to consult with a physician. The other parent’s postpartum depression can be treated with similar therapies and supports that are provided to mothers who have the condition. Seeking appropriate help can make a significant difference in managing symptoms and promoting well-being for both parents and the newborn.
The patient may be reluctant or ashamed to acknowledge they are depressed after giving birth to their child. However, they should make an appointment with their primary healthcare provider, as well as their obstetrician or gynecologist, if they exhibit any signs of postpartum depression or the postpartum baby blues. Seek medical attention once the patient exhibit symptoms that may show postpartum psychosis.
If the patient still have the following symptoms such as, still having depression after two weeks and it is getting worse, having difficulty in taking care of the baby, having problem with the daily task, or having ideas of harming yourself and baby, it is important to contact the healthcare provider immediately.
Ask the partner or any family members for help caring for the child right away if ever the patient having thoughts of harming themself or the child, and immediately visit the healthcare provider.
It’s common for people with depression to struggle with acknowledging or accepting their condition, and they may not be aware of the warning signs and symptoms. If you suspect that a friend or loved one may be experiencing postpartum depression or showing early signs of postpartum psychosis, it’s important to help them seek medical attention promptly. Early intervention and appropriate treatment can make a significant difference in managing the condition and promoting recovery.
Postpartum depression has multiple causes, including heredity, physical changes, and emotional problems.
- Genetics: According to studies, the likelihood of developing postpartum depression is increased if there is a family history of the condition, particularly if it was severe.
- Physical changes: Postpartum depression may be worsened by a sharp reduction in estrogen and progesterone levels following childbirth. Patients might experience a sudden decline in the amount of other hormones that the thyroid gland produces, which can make them feel exhausted, lethargic, and depressed.
The relationship between the abrupt decline in hormone levels after delivery and depression requires further study. Progesterone and estrogen levels ten-fold increase during pregnancy but dramatically decrease after delivery.
- Emotional: The patient may struggle to manage even simple issues if they are exhausted and overwhelmed. They might be concerned about their capacity to provide for a new baby. They might feel less attractive, have identity issues, or lack a sense of control over their lives. Any one of these problems may be a factor in postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression is a condition that can affect any new mother and not only those who have had their first child. The risk increases if the patient have the following:
- History of depression, whether it was present during pregnancy or not.
- Previous postpartum depression after pregnancy.
- History of severe circumstances including a job loss, illness, or pregnancy complications.
- Bipolar disorder.
- Family members with history of depression or other mood disorders.
- The baby has specific needs or health issues.
- Patient having twins, triplets or other multiple births.
- Having difficulty breastfeeding.
- Relationship problem with spouse or partner.
- Having a weak support system.
- Have financial problems.
- Unplanned pregnancy.