Postpartum depression is a crippling mood disorder and a form of depression that occurs after the birth of a child.
Most people interchange “baby blues and postpartum depression” baby blues start two or three days after childbirth with symptoms such as anxiety, difficulty in sleeping, mood swings, and crying bouts and might last for two weeks only while postpartum depression lasts for a longer period, and has more severe symptoms, it usually occurs in 1 out of 7 new mothers.
Postpartum depression starts two weeks after childbirth but in most cases, it starts during pregnancy, and it’s called peripartum depression.
Causes of postpartum depression
There are no known causes yet, but there are factors that will increase the risk of postpartum depression, these are:
History of personal or family depression
Being pregnant before the age of 20 years
Being pregnant as a single parent
Having a child with special needs
Loss of job at the time of being pregnancy
Lack of sleep
Symptoms of postpartum depression
In this type of depression, symptoms vary from one individual to another, here are a few common symptoms:
Thoughts of harming your baby
Crying all the time
Severe mood swings
Difficulty bonding with your baby
Fear that you are not a good mother, or you might not be a good mother.
Loss of interest in the things you used to love.
The feeling of shame and guilt
Challenges with breastfeeding
Treatments for postpartum depression
Speak to your doctor if you notice any of the symptoms: you might not have an idea about why you are experiencing some of the symptoms, so the best thing to do is to talk to a medical doctor.
Ensure you are getting enough care and help at home: being a new mum can be overwhelming most of the time with activities ranging from feeding a baby, clothing the baby, running a bath for the baby, making meals for the baby, and also looking after yourself, you need all the help and care you can get as a new mum.
Be kind to yourself: you might be angry at yourself for a lot of things like having a child in your teens or early twenties, having a child with an abusive partner, or having a child without a job, in situations like this, be kind to yourself, if you have a child with an abusive partner, the best thing to do is to leave.
Medications: you might be bothered about the health of the baby by a breastfeeding mother taking drugs, it’s safe to take these antidepressants drugs
Seek for support group: meeting up with people of like minds will help your healing process as human interaction is important.
Postpartum depression prevention
One of the risk factors of postpartum depression is a history of depression in your family, that’s why it’s advisable you tell your doctor about this history the moment you begin anti natal.
- During pregnancy: your doctor can monitor you for symptoms of depression, meeting with a support group, and reading inspirational books can help prevent this depression.
- After birth: your doctor can prescribe medications for you if he discovers signs of depression.
Does the other parent suffer postpartum depression?
Studies have shown that the other parent can suffer this type of depression too, as they may feel sad, overwhelmed, trouble, and anxious about the changes that come with having a baby.
This depression in fathers is called paternal postpartum depression, this might occur as a result of financial issues, changes in sleeping patterns.
Postpartum depression should be taken with all seriousness, most developing countries don’t consider it a serious health issue.