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Everything about Postpartum Depression

Updated: Sep 1, 2023



Postpartum depression can occur at any time during the first year after giving birth. All women are different and the symptoms that develop will vary from case to case. If you experience any of the symptoms below, talk to your doctor, psychiatrist or psychologist.


The main symptoms include:

-persistent depression, sadness and low mood ;

-lack of energy and feeling tired;

-lack of energy and interest in everything.


Other symptoms may also include:

-sleep disturbances and daytime sleepiness;

-difficulty bonding with your baby

-lack of concentration and difficulty making decisions;

-disturbing thoughts, such as hurting your child or thoughts of suicide.


What causes postpartum depression?


Unlike the baby blues, postpartum depression begins several weeks after the birth and can last for several months. Postpartum depression can occur for many reasons that vary from woman to woman. The arrival of a baby turns the family's life upside down and the changes in life that this implies is one of the first reasons for depression. Coming home from the hospital with a child can be overwhelming for parents: it can lead to a feeling of not being up to the task, of being overwhelmed by the constraints and difficulties encountered. It is often the accumulation of several factors, as in a classic depression.


In addition, there are physiological reasons for the rapid drop in hormones following childbirth. Indeed, low progesterone levels can cause anxiety, mood swings, irritability and depressive symptoms. The woman may also experience significant hormonal changes due to breastfeeding. To learn more, read our article about the effects of breastfeeding on your body.


What are the risks of developing postpartum depression?

Some people will be at greater risk of developing postpartum depression. Risk factors include:


-a history of mental health problems in either the woman or the man;

-a history of mental health problems during pregnancy

-not feeling supported by loved ones;

-a difficult, unstable or abusive relationship with a partner

-a history of substance abuse;

-lack of sleep after the baby is born;

-feeling overwhelmed;

-having gone through recent stressful events such as a bereavement or divorce/separation.


Depression affects more than 10% of mothers in the first three months after giving birth. However, it can affect up to 19% of women in the case of mild depression. The proportion of women affected by postpartum depression gradually decreases after the third month of the newborn's life.


Postpartum depression in fathers

Women are not the only ones at risk of developing postpartum depression: men are almost as affected as women by this illness.


The causes of postpartum depression are the same as for women: a feeling of not being up to the task, a sudden change in life, difficulty bonding with the child, etc. In addition, postpartum depression in men can manifest itself in different ways, such as anger, irritability, or excessive alcohol consumption.


However, men are much less likely to seek help for depressive symptoms. To learn more, read the article about the signs of depression in men.


How do I get out of postpartum depression?

Seek medical help

Women are expected to be overwhelmed with happiness after giving birth, but many are afraid to admit that's not how they feel. In fact, it is common for young parents to feel depressed, confused, frustrated and disillusioned. There is nothing shameful about this. Support from a health care professional can be a reassuring solution to doubts.


Talk to your doctor or psychiatrist to determine what support and treatment options are necessary for your needs.

Whatever you do, don't suffer in silence. If you think your partner is suffering, encourage him or her to seek help as well.


Psychological Therapies

Your doctor may recommend that you see a psychologist to treat postpartum depression.


Antidepressants

Antidepressants may be recommended in some cases where the depression is severe and other treatments have not been effective. Your doctor will advise you on the options available if you are still breastfeeding.


If you have a history of mental illness or depression, talk to your doctor when you become pregnant. He or she can arrange for you to be monitored regularly by a health care professional in the first few weeks after giving birth.


Ask for help from family and friends

Tell them how you feel and don't be afraid to ask for help. For example, you could ask someone to help you look after your baby while you rest for a few hours. If you are low on energy, ask for help with shopping or cooking.


Resting

Rest whenever possible. To avoid sleep deprivation, make it a point to rest every time your child falls asleep. Also, don't be too perfectionist about your home and chores. It's more important that you catch up on your sleep and rest when you can.


Eat healthy

Having a baby is a strain on the body, so it's important to eat healthy and get some exercise when you can.


Contact Arise Health Clinic if you want to know Everything about Postpartum Depression

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