Postpartum depression

Around 80% of women experience depression after giving birth. In the first week after the baby is born, some women can begin to feel anxious, angry, weak, sad and depressed, for no immediate reason.

This condition can arise especially if the woman has experienced it before, if she suffers from a psychiatric illness or has a stress source in her life, but these conditions are not mandatory.

The signs that indicate postpartum depression in a new mother are:

  • Feelings of anxiety, despair, panic attacks
  • Excessive interest in the baby or the complete lack of it
  • The mother is unable to care for herself and the baby
  • The mother experiences changes in her appetite
  • The mother is very afraid of harming the baby or is afraid of being left alone with it
  • She thinks about harming herself or ending her own life

If someone does experience these symptoms, they need to get immediate help.

The postpartum depression can have different sources of origin. One of them can be of hormonal nature. After giving birth, certain hormone levels drop heavily, causing mood swings, tension, anxiety, sleep problems. Also the hectic schedule in the first months after birth can be a source of depression: lack of sleep, house chores, etc. this can be accentuated even more if the mother gave birth through caesarian section, because of the longer recovery and pain.

From an emotional point of view, many factors can lead to postpartum depression. For example, if the pregnancy was not planned, the baby was born earlier or with a handicap: all this can put more pressure on the parents and create tensions between them.

If the baby has to spend more time in the hospital due to health issues, the mother can become frustrated or feel guilty about it.

Having a baby changes your life forever. Some mothers may begin to feel they are a complete new person with new and more responsibilities, being tied down. Also, during pregnancy, the mother’s body changes and some women can feel less attractive after giving birth, which can also lead to depression.

The new mother’s social environment is very important after she gives birth. Support from the partner, family and friends can provide essential comfort and stability. It can be very depressing if the mother has to deal with all the changes and the work all by herself.

Also breastfeeding issues can be a source of depression. If the mother cannot breastfeed or she stops breastfeeding she might begin to feel guilty about being a good mother.

Solutions

Mothers that experience depression after giving birth should take good care of themselves, get the support from their friends and family in taking care of the newborn, or get a nanny. They should also eat well and get enough rest, matching with the sleeping program of the infant can be an option. Also, socialization is important: getting out of the house, talking with friends and other new moms and sharing experiences is helpful.

If all this does not at least reduce the depression, a doctor’s advice must be followed. He or she can prescribe mild antidepressants or refer the patient to other experts.

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