The birth of a child evokes random emotions that vary easily from excitement and great joy to intense fear and anxiety. But such sudden mood swings can lead to something you do not expect and it is postpartum depression.
Many young mothers experience mixed feelings after the childbirth such as sudden mood changes, weeping, hysterical laughter. But some of them experience more serious, long-lasting forms of bad mood known as postpartum depression. The extreme form of postpartum depression – postpartum psychosis – develops in very rare cases.
If a woman suffers from postpartum depression it does not mean that she is a weak person or a bad mother. Sometimes postpartum depression is simply a complication after childbirth or a psychological unwillingness to become a mother. If you have symptoms of postpartum depression, early treatment can help you manage your emotions and enjoy motherhood.
The duration of postpartum depression depends primarily on its type. The symptoms of postpartum blues usually are:
- Mood swings and anxiety;
- Sadness and irritability;
- Weeping and reduced concentration;
- Difficulty falling asleep.
The symptoms of postpartum depression may be similar to postpartum blues symptoms but they are more intense and long-lasting. Eventually, they prevent you from taking proper care of your child and performing other daily tasks. The symptoms of postpartum depression may include:
- Loss of appetite and insomnia;
- Intense anger and irritability;
- Fatigue and decreased sexual desire;
- Lack of joy in life;
- Feelings of guilt, shame, or inadequacy;
- Detachment from family and friends or thoughts of harming themselves or their own child.
Postpartum depression if not treated may last for a year or even more. Postpartum psychosis is a rare condition that usually develops during the first weeks after the childbirth. The run of this type of depression is more severe. The symptoms of postpartum psychosis may be:
- Confusion and temporal disorientation;
- Hallucinations and paranoia;
- Attempts to harm themselves or their own child.
Stages If you experience the above-mentioned symptoms after childbirth and you can not cope with them on your own, it is strongly recommended to seek qualified help. If you are afraid of doing so, try to analyze your present condition. It is necessary to consult a doctor if the symptoms of postpartum depression are:
- Do not disappear after about two weeks;
- Your condition worsens;
- It is difficult for you to look after the child;
- It is difficult to complete daily tasks;
- The emergence of thoughts to harm themselves or their own child.
Early treatment of postpartum depression will help to speed up your recovery. If you think that postpartum psychosis is about to develop consult a doctor immediately. Do not wait and hope for an improvement in your condition. Postpartum psychosis can have life-threatening consequences. Usually, there are no clear reasons for postpartum depression to develop because any physical and emotional factors may contribute to it.
Causes of postpartum depression
A sharp drop in hormone levels in the body (estrogen and progesterone) after childbirth can cause postpartum depression. Other hormones produced by thyroid gland can also drop dramatically and make you feel tired, lethargic, and depressed. Changes in blood, its volume, pressure, the restructuring of the immune system and metabolism can be the causes that contribute to fatigue and mood swings.
When you are sleep deprived and exhausted even minor problems can turn into unsolvable tasks. You may doubt your ability to care for your baby. Also, you may have a feeling of your own unattractiveness. You may feel that you lose control of your life. Each of these factors can cause postpartum depression.
Lifestyle and its impact
Many lifestyle factors can lead to a disease such as birth depression, including the demands of the baby or older siblings, the difficulties of breastfeeding, the inanition of the body, financial problems, and the lack of support from your husband or family.
Treatment of postpartum depression
Treatment and recovery vary depending on the severity of your depression and your personal and individual needs.
Postpartum blues usually disappears on its own in several days or in two-three weeks. During this time try to rest as much time as possible. Accept help from relatives and friends. Communicate with other mothers. This can improve your emotional state and you can get a lot of useful information from them and the support you need so much. Do not drink alcohol because it can make mood swings even worse, and also affect your baby negatively when breastfeeding.
Consult a Psychologist
This method of treatment can solve your problems by means of a conversation with a psychiatrist or a psychologist. This kind of consultation can help you to find effective ways to cope with your symptoms and concerns. Sometimes such consultations are also useful for family or relationship counseling.
Antidepressants are very effective and indispensable medication in the case of postpartum depression. It is important to know that if you are breastfeeding, any medicine you take in will be in breast milk. But there are some antidepressants which can be prescribed during breastfeeding with a minimal risk of side-effects. Consult your doctor to weigh up all possible risks and benefits of particular antidepressants.
Treatment with estrogen can help to neutralize the sharp drop in the level of this hormone. Estrogen Injections can alleviate some of the symptoms of postpartum depression. Studies on the effectiveness of the use of hormone therapy to treat postpartum depression are limited, so it is worth weighing up all the pros and cons. As with antidepressants, discuss the potential risks and benefits of hormonal therapy with your doctor.
With qualified treatment, postpartum depression lasts several months and rarely up to a year. In such a case, it is important to continue the treatment even after you begin to feel better because stopping it can only lead to a relapse.
Postpartum psychosis as the third type of postpartum depression
Postpartum psychosis, as the most severe stage of depression, requires immediate and often hospital treatment. A combination of antipsychotics, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers can be prescribed to manage the signs and symptoms of psychosis. Sometimes as a method of treatment electroconvulsive therapy is used. The treatment of postpartum psychosis can lead to a loss of ability to breastfeed as far as some medications used to treat postpartum psychosis are not recommended for women who breastfeed. If you have a postpartum psychosis only a group of health professionals will help you to solve this problem.
Dealing with postpartum depression at home
Young mothers usually prefer to deal with postpartum depression on their own. If you decide to cope with this condition by yourself, you can do a few things to improve your health. In fact, personal care can help speed up the recovery.
Lead healthy and active lifestyle. Do morning exercises and go for a walk with the baby every day. Eat healthy and low-calorie food and do not drink alcohol. Do not put pressure on yourself. Forget some of your expectations about an ideal family and just do the best you can. Ask for help from your family or friends when necessary. Also, take a little time to relax. Go out, visit a friend or do errands. Avoid loneliness and isolation. Tell your partner, family or friends how you feel. Ask other mothers about their experiences and do not forget that the best way to take care of your baby is to take care of yourself.
Overcoming the disease
Birth depression can also have a wave effect causing emotional stress for a patient’s family. When a young mother is depressed the risk for a father to start suffering from depression may increase. In this case, if you have problems dealing with postpartum depression in your family, talk to your doctor. Women’s depression is treatable. The earlier you get help, the better it is for you and your family.