How Can I Deal With Postpartum Depression
There are many things you can do to combat postpartum depression – it’s not something you just have to suffer through. If you believe you are struggling, the first step is to speak with your doctor about your concerns. They will ask you more detailed questions to see if a diagnosis of postpartum depression is right for you.
Some women can combat their postpartum depression with simple lifestyle adjustments – other women need more comprehensive medical intervention. Regardless, it’s important to remember that postpartum depression is, at its core, a chemical issue – and if you are not able to improve your symptoms without medical support, it is NOT a personal failure.
Postpartum depression is a complex relationship of multiple factors – and treatment for postpartum depression is equally complex. Here are some things you can do to combat the illness and return to wellness.
Be open about your struggle with postpartum depression with other mothers in your social circle. While you might have to battle the illness, you do not have to battle shame. Think about it – if as many as one in five women suffers from postpartum depression, the likelihood that you know women who have gone through it is incredibly high.
Make Simple Lifestyle Adjustments
There are a few things you can do to try and combat postpartum depression on your own. These include:
- Ask partner to take an overnight feeding to help you get a longer stretch of restorative sleep
- Schedule regular exercise
When Does Postpartum Depression Typically Start
PPD can begin as soon as you give birth, but you probably wont realize it right away since its considered normal to feel sad, exhausted, and generally out of sorts during the first few days after baby arrives. It may not be until after the typical baby blue time frame should have passed that you realize something more serious is going on.
The postpartum period generally includes the first 46 weeks after birth, and many cases of PPD begin during that time. But PPD can also develop during pregnancy and up to 1 year after giving birth, so dont discount your feelings if theyre happening outside of the typical postpartum period.
Frequently Asked Questions Expand All
- What are the baby blues?
About 23 days after childbirth, some women begin to feel depressed, anxious, and upset. They may feel angry with the new baby, their partners, or their other children. They also may:
Cry for no clear reason
Have trouble sleeping, eating, and making choices
Question whether they can handle caring for a baby
These feelings, often called the baby blues, may come and go in the first few days after childbirth.
The baby blues usually get better within a few days or 12 weeks without any treatment.
Women with postpartum depression have intense feelings of sadness, anxiety, or despair that prevent them from being able to do their daily tasks.
Postpartum depression can occur up to 1 year after having a baby, but it most commonly starts about 13 weeks after childbirth.
Postpartum depression probably is caused by a combination of factors. These factors include the following:
Changes in hormone levelsLevels of estrogen and progesterone decrease sharply in the hours after childbirth. These changes may trigger depression in the same way that smaller changes in hormone levels trigger mood swings and tension before menstrual periods.
National Womens Health Information Center
See A Professional Before Birth
If youve already experienced depression or PPD during pregnancy or are at increased risk of developing postpartum depression for another reason, seek help from an expert before your babys arrival.
If you’re on an effective medication, don’t stop taking it without supervision from your doctor. If you become depressed during pregnancy, seek help your practitioner may recommend psychotherapy and/or medication.
Some physicians prescribe low doses of antidepressants or therapy in the last trimester of pregnancy or right after delivery to help prevent PPD. Either way, getting a handle on the issue as early as possible will make things easier after you give birth.
Is It Possible To Prevent Postpartum Depression
Remember, postpartum depression is never a moms fault. Theres nothing you can do to cause PPD, and theres no definite way to prevent it.
You can reduce your risk by treating depression before you try to conceive and by getting treatment for depression during pregnancy, if it occurs. You can also reduce your risk by staying on an effective medication during pregnancy after a thorough discussion with your health care provider. Keep in mind that doses sometimes need to be increased during pregnancy to keep your depression in remission.
There are several other steps you can take before and after your babys arrival that may potentially help reduce the severity of postpartum depression symptoms:
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Tip : Lean On Others For Help And Support
Human beings are social. Positive social contact relieves stress faster and more efficiently than any other means of stress reduction. Historically and from an evolutionary perspective, new mothers received help from those around them when caring for themselves and their infants after childbirth. In todays world, new mothers often find themselves alone, exhausted and lonely for supportive adult contact. Here are some ideas for connecting to others:
Make your relationships a priority. When youre feeling depressed and vulnerable, its more important than ever to stay connected to family and friendseven if youd rather be alone. Isolating yourself will only make your situation feel even bleaker, so make your adult relationships a priority. Let your loved ones know what you need and how youd like to be supported.
Dont keep your feelings to yourself. In addition to the practical help your friends and family can provide, they can also serve as a much-needed emotional outlet. Share what youre experiencingthe good, the bad, and the uglywith at least one other person, preferably face to face. It doesnt matter who you talk to, so long as that person is willing to listen without judgment and offer reassurance and support.
Medicines For The Treatment Of Postpartum Depression Include:
- Antidepressants: There are medicines used to treat many forms of depression, including postpartum depression. Some have side effects, such as the dry mouth or weight gain. And some of them arent safe to take if youre breastfeeding. Speak to the provider to find out if one of these medicines is right for you.
- Strogen:This hormone plays an important part in the menstrual and pregnancy cycles. The level of estrogen in your body drops quickly during childbirth. Your physician can prescribe that you wear an estrogen patch on your skin to replace the estrogen your body has lost.
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Coronavirus Update: How To Contact A Gp
It’s still important to get help from a GP if you need it. To contact your GP surgery:
- visit their website
- a range of help and support is available, including therapy
- depression is an illness like any other
- it’s not your fault you’re depressed it can happen to anyone
- being depressed does not mean you’re a bad parent
- it does not mean you’re going mad
- your baby will not be taken away from you babies are only taken into care in very exceptional circumstances
Our Postpartum Depression Story
On August 30, 2013, my beautiful, healthy, and smart daughter Adriana was born. My wife and I were both 30 years old and had everything a young couple could dream of in this world. We felt invincible and unstoppable.
Together we had a connection that brought out the best in each other. Our love gave us the courage to step out of our comfort zones and grow as people and professionals.
We had a once-in-a-lifetime kind of love a love that never dies.
On October 8, 2013 our perfect world changed forever. On that October morning, I awoke to find my wife Alexis lifeless in our basement. Its a sight that still sucks the air out of my lungs.
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How Do I Know If I Have Postpartum Depression
Postnatal depression, also known as PPD, consists from episodes of sadness that come from nowhere, and bring a bitter wave of disappointment mixed with depression and dark thoughts. These feelings can become overwhelming and can even eclipse the beauty of the first weeks of being a mother.
This kind of depression doesn`t mean you have something very serious, but rather that you shouldn`t treated superficially. It occurs at 15% 20% of women..
Lots of mothers may feel a specific sadness after they given birth, which represents a normal emotional liability after birth. It manifests during the first few days, and includes crying for no apparent reason and sudden mood changes, but disappears relatively fast .
Still certain mothers may experience a more severe form of depression that lasts longer, and this is known as postpartum depression. Rarely, it may appear under the form of a depression known as postpartum psychosis. Postnatal depression isn`t a weakness of the mother, but rather a complication of childbirth. If you suffer of postpartum depression, it will be recommended to you a certain treatment so that your symptoms can be controlled and enjoy your newborn.
What Is Perinatal Depression
Perinatal depression is a mood disorder that can affect women during pregnancy and after childbirth. The word perinatal refers to the time before and after the birth of a child. Perinatal depression includes depression that begins during pregnancy and depression that begins after the baby is born . Mothers with perinatal depression experience feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and fatigue that may make it difficult for them to carry out daily tasks, including caring for themselves or others.
How is postpartum depression different from the baby blues? The baby blues is a term used to describe mild mood changes and feelings of worry, unhappiness, and exhaustion that many women sometimes experience in the first 2 weeks after having a baby. Babies require around-the-clock care, so its normal for mothers to feel tired or overwhelmed sometimes. If mood changes and feelings of anxiety or unhappiness are severe, or if they last longer than 2 weeks, a woman may have postpartum depression. Women with postpartum depression generally will not feel better unless they receive treatment.
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Signs Your Wife Has Postpartum Depression
Ill be honest with you Im not a doctor and Im also not a mom. Instead, Im a husband and dad who suffered alongside my wife with undiagnosed postpartum depression.
Im not going to tell you the symptoms of postpartum depression according to the textbook Instead, I want to share the signs I saw that all pointed to PPD, even though I didnt know it at the time. Side note, my wife read through this post before I published it to give her stamp of approval.
What Is Postpartum Depression And How Do I Deal With It
Medically Reviewed By: Deborah Horton
The months following the birth of a baby are ones of great adjustment. Changing body chemistry, lack of quality sleep and numerous other stressors lead many women to experience postpartum depression in the year following childbirth.
Sadly, inadequate information and understanding of the nature of postpartum depression, along with a pervasive stigma in our society about its exact cause, leave many women to suffer alone. Postpartum depression is a disease and is never the fault of the mother – nor is it an indication of their worthiness to be a mom.
Healing is available for postpartum depression, and no mother should feel shame for pursuing treatment for this medical condition. It is real, it is common, and it is treatable.
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What Can I Do At Home To Feel Better While Seeing A Doctor For Postpartum Depression
Here are some ways to begin feeling better or getting more rest, in addition to talking to a health care professional:
- Rest as much as you can. Sleep when the baby is sleeping.
- Dont try to do too much or to do everything by yourself. Ask your partner, family, and friends for help.
- Make time to go out, visit friends, or spend time alone with your partner.
- Talk about your feelings with your partner, supportive family members, and friends.
- Talk with other mothers so that you can learn from their experiences.
- Join a support group. Ask your doctor or nurse about groups in your area.
- Dont make any major life changes right after giving birth. More major life changes in addition to a new baby can cause unneeded stress. Sometimes big changes cant be avoided. When that happens, try to arrange support and help in your new situation ahead of time.
It can also help to have a partner, a friend, or another caregiver who can help take care of the baby while you are depressed. If you are feeling depressed during pregnancy or after having a baby, dont suffer alone. Tell a loved one and call your doctor right away.
She Has Thoughts Of Harming The Baby
Your wife may find herself having spontaneous thoughts of harming your baby, or worse.
Ive read accounts of women who confessed, anonymously, that they had thoughts of dunking their babies during bath time, letting the stroller accidentally roll in front of a car, and leaving the baby at home unattended, just to name a few morbid examples.
I dont like talking about this, but you need to know about it and we as a society cant shy away from this.
If your wife shares thoughts like this, no matter how spontaneous or random they might seem, get help immediately.
Technically, this gets into the domain of postpartum psychosis, a similar but much more dangerous postpartum mental illness.
Ill be honest, I have no experience with postpartum psychosis. My wife didnt have this. But, since the men whose wives have postpartum psychosis likely start out searching for PPD symptoms, Im including them here.
Related: A more detailed list of postpartum psychosis symptoms
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What Are Some Causes Of Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression can develop due to a combination of hormonal, environmental, emotional, and genetic factors. Some women who experience postpartum depression have a history of major depression prior to or during pregnancy. Changes such as sleep deprivation, physical exhaustion and emotional adjustments, while normal after giving birth and caring for a newborn, can also contribute to the development of postpartum depression.
Unlike depression that is unrelated to pregnancy, postpartum depression is linked to unique hormonal changes that occur after childbirth. Sudden changes in hormone levels after delivering a baby can trigger depression in women who are more sensitive to shifts in estrogen and progesterone.
While any new mother can experience postpartum depression, some women are at a higher risk. Risk factors for postpartum depression include:
- Depression or anxiety during pregnancy
- Stressful life events during pregnancy or soon after giving birth
- Traumatic childbirth experience
- Relationship problems, including domestic violence
- Substance abuse, including smoking or drinking alcohol
- Pregestational or gestational diabetes
What Is Postpartum Obsessive
Postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder is one of the newer disorders that is part of the postpartum mood disorders group. It is estimated that about 3-5% of postpartum women will experience some of the symptoms of PPOCD.Symptoms may include:
- Overly occupied with keeping your baby safe
- Compelled to do certain things over and over again to help relieve her anxiety and fearsThis can include counting things, ordering things, listing things, checking and rechecking actions already performed, and cleaning repeatedly. This may manifest itself in cleaning, feeding, or taking care of the baby.
- May recognize these obsessions but feels horror and shame associated with them
- Obsessions or thoughts that are persistent, are repetitive and can include mental images of the baby that are disturbing
- Fear of being alone with the baby
Women who suffer from PPOCD often know that these thoughts, actions, and feelings are not normal and do not act on them. But the obsession can get in the way of a mom taking care of her baby properly or being able to enjoy her baby. With the right treatment, women with PPOCD can experience freedom from being controlled by these obsessions and compulsions.
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Who Gets Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression can affect any woman but some may be more at risk for developing it. Women who have had any kind of depression in the past or who have a family history of depression are more likely to get postpartum depression.
Other things that might increase the chance of postpartum depression include serious stress during the pregnancy, medical problems during the pregnancy or after birth, and lack of support at home.
When Should You Call Your Doctor
911, your provincial health information line, or other emergency services right away if:
- You or someone you know is thinking seriously of suicide or has recently tried suicide. Serious signs include these thoughts:
- You have decided how to kill yourself, such as with a weapon or medicines.
- You have set a time and place to do it.
- You think there is no other way to solve the problem or end the pain.
- You hear voices.
- You have been thinking about death or suicide a lot, but you do not have a suicide plan.
- You are worried that your feelings of depression or thoughts of suicide aren’t going away.
Seek care soon if:
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