What is Postpartum Depression? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

The birth of a baby is surely is a joyful blessing, but it could be a highly stressful experience for some parents. Today, we’ll discuss what is postpartum depression; its symptoms, causes, types, risk factors, and treatment.

What is Postpartum Depression? 

PPD (postpartum depression) is a complicated mixture of behavioral, emotional, and physical feelings that occur among women after the birth of the baby. PPD falls under the category of mental disorder and is a serious form of major depression and it starts within the four weeks after the delivery of the baby. However, the diagnosis of PPD doesn’t only depend on the duration and length of time between onset and delivery but also relies on the severity of depressive conditions.

PPD has an association with psychological, social, and emotional changes that occur when a mom is having a baby. The term PPD outlines a wide range of emotional and physical changes that many moms experience. You can treat PPD with counseling and medication.

The chemical changes comprise a significant reduction in hormones after the delivery of the baby. It’s still unclear the connection between depression and the reduction of hormones. However, we’re aware of the fact that reproductive hormones like progesterone and estrogen, amplify to a great extent during pregnancy. It starts decreasing after the delivery, and it drops to a great extent within 3 days. The hormones level reaches the level where it has been before since the pregnancy.

Additionally, the psychological, social, and chemical changes within the body amplify the risk of depression. Many new moms exhibit the symptoms of “baby blue” after the delivery, and one out of every ten women develop a long-term severe depression after the delivery of the baby. Approximately one in every thousand women develops the condition of postpartum psychosis.

Symptoms of Postpartum Depression 

People usually misinterpret the symptoms of PPD with baby blues, but the symptoms of PPD are more intense and they tend to last long. They disturb the mother’s capability to take care of her baby and perform the daily routine tasks. However, symptoms of PPD tend to develop within a few weeks after the child’s birth, they may start early like during the pregnancy, or a year later after the child’s birth. Some of the main symptoms of PPD are as follows;

  • Recurrence of suicidal and death thoughts
  • Thoughts of harming your baby and yourself
  • Panic attacks and anxiety attacks of a severe kind
  • Restlessness
  • Limited capability to make a decision, focus or concentrate, or to think clearly
  • Feelings of inadequacy, guilt, shame, or worthlessness
  • Hopelessness
  • Afraid that you aren’t a good mom
  • Intense feelings of anger and irritability
  • Lower interest in the pleasurable activities that you used to like enjoy
  • Losing energy and overwhelming fatigue
  • Sleeping too much or not sleeping at all like insomnia
  • Eating a lot than usual or not eating at all
  • Not accompanying friends and family members
  • Having difficulty developing a bond with the child  
  • Crying excessively
  • Depressed and other severe types of mood swing

The symptoms of PPD tend to last longer if you don’t treat them properly.

Baby Blues Symptoms

Some of the main symptoms of baby blues that tend to last for a few days to a few weeks, and they’re as follows;

  • Sleeping trouble
  • Appetite problem
  • Lower concentration and focusing level
  • Crying
  • Overwhelming feelings
  • Irritability
  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Mood Swings

Postpartum Psychosis

Some of the main symptoms of postpartum psychosis are as follows;

  • Attempting to harm your baby or yourself
  • Paranoia
  • Agitation and the excessive energy
  • Disturbance in your sleep
  • Delusions and hallucinations
  • Obsession about your baby
  • Disorientation and confusion feelings

Postpartum psychosis could result in the form of life-threatening behaviors and thoughts, and it would require your immediate attention and proper treatment.

Causes of Postpartum Depression 

PPD could happen due to physical or emotional issues, and their details are as follows;

Emotional Issues

When you’re experiencing difficulty in dealing with the small problems, overwhelming feelings, and sleep deprivation, you’ll have anxious feelings towards taking care of the newborn baby. You may feel like you’re losing control over your life, struggling with your sense of identity, and feeling like you aren’t attractive. However, if a person experiencing any of such issues, then they would add up to develop PPD.

Physical Changes

The hormones like progesterone and estrogen decrease dramatically in the women’s body and add up to the PPD condition. Other hormones produced by your thyroid gland would reduce to a great extent, and it would make you feel depressed, sluggish, and tired.

Risk Factors 

Any mother that exhibits the symptoms of PPD after delivery of any baby, not just the 1st one, and the risk would amplify due to the following factors;

  • Unwanted or unplanned pregnancy
  • Financial issues
  • Weak supportive system
  • Problems with your spouse and relationship
  • Breastfeeding difficulty
  • Multiple births of babies at once like twins and triplets
  • Special needs and health issues
  • Having gone through the high stressful event in your life lately like losing job, illness, and complications with pregnancy
  • The family connection with a person that has Mood disorder and depression
  • PPD after the previous pregnancy
  • Bipolar disorder
  • History of depression or even during the period of pregnancy

Treatment of Postpartum Depression 

There are various ways to treat PPD depending on the severity and type of symptoms. Some of the main types of treatment plans are;

  • Educational material
  • Emotional support and other support groups
  • Psychotherapy
  • Antidepressant medication
  • Antianxiety tablets
  • Medication like Brexanolone in severe cases

Admission to the hospital is necessary in case of postpartum psychosis along with the medication. If moms are breastfeeding, then they should avoid medication of psychosis, antianxiety, or antidepressants. They should consider taking it under the supervision of their doctor.

Conclusion: What is Postpartum Depression? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

After an in-depth study of what is postpartum depression; its symptoms, causes, risk factors, and treatment; we’ve realized that PPD is a serious mental health problem for new moms. If you observe any of the abovementioned symptoms, then you should consult with the doctor.