Table of Contents
- What is postpartum depression?
- What does postpartum depression mean?
- What does it feel like to have postpartum depression?
- Signs of postpartum depression
- Why does postpartum depression occur?
- What causes postpartum depression?
- Types of Postpartum depression
- When does postpartum depression start?
- What do you do you for postpartum depression?
- How to get over postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression is an oft-neglected disorder which strikes many women after the delivery. There are mainly six types of postpartum depression and its necessary to identify them so that proper treatment is given.
After giving birth, most women feel guilty doing things they never thought they would while pregnant. She may feel guilt, regret, irritability, dread, exhausted, nauseous, angry, disconnected from the baby (and the world). Sounds like what you are going through?
About 80% of women suffer from different types of postpartum depression after delivery. The depression can manifest itself in any form such as guilt, or irritability. When the realization that the new being is here forever dawns upon you, outcomes can be opposite of what you thought. Now more than bliss it feels like a responsibility when things get real after delivery.
Baby blues and postpartum depression PPD, used interchangeably are very different. Postpartum mood disorders are of 7 different types. The forms of postpartum mood disorders include postpartum psychosis, postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder, and postpartum anxiety disorder.
Can postpartum depression come later? Any woman can experience baby blues at some point in time after giving birth. The symptoms of postpartum depression appear within four months after delivery. Case studies reveal that a patient can have postpartum depression after eight months too. However, the risk of having postpartum psychosis or postpartum anxiety disorder is not uniform for all. No longer is postpartum depression a taboo or falsely considered myth.
What is postpartum depression?
Most people are indifferent towards moodiness or sadness after giving birth as baby blues. Ironically baby blues are not of one shade. The condition can be mild and temporary as baby blues or severe and long-term such as postpartum psychosis. Crying, feeling low and detached from the baby or getting agitated with the new arrival all are signs of PPD. The timing of depression does not diagnose it to be postpartum psychosis or baby blues. The way a woman perceives her post-delivery period or behaves during it characterizes the disorder.
What does postpartum depression mean?
Postpartum depression is the mental disorder that sets within the four months period after delivery. Feeling low and sad is different from depression. The emotion of sadness becomes depression when prolonged beyond a period. Baby blues – as the name suggests, refers to the depression due to delivery. While there are physiological reasons for PPD but the kind of support you have contributes to it.
What does it feel like to have postpartum depression?
Just like any other mood disorder during postpartum depression most women are unaware of it. It is not a viral infection that you know will go with time. Depression shows you a dead end in its most severe forms. The existence of a 24 × 7 responsibility and the unnecessary guilt about anything related takes a toll. A woman having baby blues might feel low because she misses her carefree life or relationship with her partner.
You may feel overwhelmed and disconnected from the world around you and even the baby. You may suddenly feel irritated, and rage will build up inside you. Lack of appetite is also a common symptom.
If your family is not supportive enough, then it gets worse. Changes in the body and the postpartum bleeding make you feel physically sick. To add on your misery depression takes on your mental and emotional health.
Signs of postpartum depression
A woman with depression after pregnancy may or may not be aware of its possibility. Many new mothers do not receive proper counseling during and after pregnancy. There are symptoms of postpartum depression that invariably occur in most cases. Mental illness does not have clear boundaries, and so there can be variations in the kind of PPD symptoms.
Major 20 symptoms of postpartum depression
- Constantly crying
- Feeling worthless
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts
- Severe mood fluctuations
- A tendency to quarrel or be unresponsive
- Not being able to attach to your baby
- Feeling guilty for no reason
- Sleeping a lot or having insomnia
- No sense of pleasure or satisfaction
- Feeling of helplessness
- Unexplained feeling of exhaustion
- Lack of will to do any work
- Inability to focus and remember things
- Seeking social isolation
- Guilt because of symptoms mentioned above
- Feeling out of control
- Easily getting angered for no reason or solvable issues
- Loss of appetite after pregnancy
- Ache in any random part of the body or feeling sick without actually being ill
- Dizziness, blurred out vision and fainting
Postpartum depression symptoms are not much different from the normal post-pregnancy feeling. Often women unknowingly suffer symptoms of postpartum mood disorders. It happens under the impression of it being a normal post delivery feeling. The usual things experienced after delivery include vaginal discomfort and pain. Appetite loss and constipation affect nutrition after birth. Other troubles after baby delivery are sleeping difficulty and fatigued periods.
Why does postpartum depression occur?
Antepartum depression & depression during pregnancy are because of the rise of hormones. The depression after pregnancy is the antithesis. During pregnancy estrogen and progesterone rise multiple folds throughout months. Once the placenta is outside the body, there is a sudden drop in the production of the hormones. The rise of hormones which was gradual now goes an anticlimax within few days.
What causes postpartum depression?
How the fall of hormones is the reason for baby blues is not clear. The declining hormones, bleeding, vaginal tear, and emotional changes lead to baby blues. The more severe and drastic these changes are the higher is the risk of getting postpartum psychosis.
The chemical changes occurring inside the body are inevitable. Family support during the period determines the risk of getting postpartum depression. Broken marriage or lack of social contact affects your ability to deal with the changes occurring after parturition. Other things may add up such as lack of helping hand at work or financial limitations.
Other causes of baby blues are low thyroid hormone levels and low omega three fatty acids in the diet. Precipitous labor, inadequate sleep, and exhaustion are risk factors for postpartum depression. Drug and alcohol use during pregnancy increases the chance of suffering from postpartum anxiety.
Types of Postpartum depression
Postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder, postpartum psychosis, and postpartum anxiety are newly discovered categories. The postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder has aggravated symptoms. Stress makes depression worse after giving birth.
There are mainly three types of postpartum mood disorders. The three levels are baby blues, postpartum depression, and postpartum psychosis.
1) Baby blues
More than half of pregnant women suffer from baby blues. Mild temporary sadness due to inability to cope up with the challenges of motherhood is natural. Baby blues can occur at any time after delivering the baby. The illness is not severe and only includes negative feelings after giving birth. After delivery, the levels of hormones come back to the pre-pregnancy period within three days. Baby blues appear at this time after 4-5 days after the arrival of the baby.
Symptoms of baby blues
- Emotional breakdown and crying without reason
- Fatigue and the inability to get enough sleep
- Anxiety and mood upset
- Overwhelming by the presence of the baby
Baby blues get over within a week after they appear. Proper care and family support can help complete quick recovery from it.
2) Postpartum depression (PPD)
Not all but some cases of baby blues become severe and lead to PPD. Even when a woman is suffering from postpartum depression, she will have mood fluctuations. Some days can be better than the rest. How long does postpartum depression last? PPD will last for two weeks or more.
Postpartum depression (PPD) symptoms
- Feeling overwhelmed, sad or guilty
- Reduced libido and loss of interest in other activities
- Getting thoughts of hurting the baby
- Fatigue and lack of will to do things
3) Postpartum Psychosis (PPP)
The most severe form of postpartum depression occurs to about 0.01% of women after giving birth. PPP is a medical emergency and needs immediate treatment. The condition involves loss of touch with reality. Sudden changes lead to postpartum psychosis. Unlike other forms, it cannot occur later, and onset is within two weeks. The symptoms of postpartum psychosis are distinct. Hallucinations and hyperactivity mark the condition. Who is at risk of postpartum psychosis? Women with a history of depression or going through a dysfunctional marriage is at risk of it.
Postpartum Psychosis symptoms
- Hallucinations and loss of touch from reality
- Weird activities and hyperactive behavior
- Suicidal or getting thoughts of hurting the baby
- Unexpected mood swings
4) Postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder
The act of parturition is stressful and puts a lot of strain on the body. During incidents of prolonged labor, or rapid labor the mother can undergo trauma. Lack of support and medical supervision during delivery make you prone to postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder. Stressing about the baby being in ICU can also cause the condition. Any other trauma or flashbacks from past aggravate the symptoms.
Postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms
- Flashbacks or traumatic relapse
- Panic attacks or constant worrying
- Getting angry or feeling irritable all the while
- Getting startled or hyperactive
5) Postpartum anxiety (PPA)
Does anxiety increase with postpartum depression? In some cases, anxiety after delivery can take the form of PPA. In such patients, anxiety takes a toll on the patient. Only 1 out of 100 women have postpartum anxiety which is excessive anxiety. Some worrying and stress in normal after the arrival of the baby. When the anxiety impairs you and your routine, it is postpartum anxiety.
Postpartum anxiety symptoms
- Worrying and difficulty in calming down
- Breathlessness due to over thinking
- Can’t make decisions
- Feeling that there is a lot to do but not getting things done
- Can’t sit still and get panic attacks
6) Postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder
A patient with the obsessive-compulsive disorder does same things over and over again. But you will be able to realize that the behavior is not normal. It is a rare disorder and can also cure by strong willpower. Thought of things being dirty and cleaning them, again and again, is a major symptom of a postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder. Repetition of the same action wastes a lot of time, and you are unable to do other things.
Postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms
- Cleaning things, yourself, baby, again and again, washing hands for long
- Feeling helpless and scared because if the obsession
- Disturbing dreams or feeling of impending danger to the baby
- Overprotective about your baby
When does postpartum depression start?
Postpartum depression sets in within two weeks. How common is it to get postpartum depression? Postpartum anxiety happens to about 16.66% women.
About 50-85% women suffer from baby blues. It is that common! Only about 30% of women have depression before and during pregnancy. The number of women suffering from postpartum depression is higher than depression during pregnancy. About 50% of women have depression onset after childbirth within the first weeks.
Can you get postpartum depression after 8 months?
There are cases where PPD was reported in patients after a year of giving birth.
What do you do you for postpartum depression?
Baby blues don’t require medications often. Postpartum anxiety and postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder require the use of antidepressants. Doctors prescribe a combination of psychotic drugs to treat Postpartum psychosis.
How to get over postpartum depression?
Baby blues will go away after 2 weeks postpartum. Rarely some women may continue to suffer 1 month postpartum from sadness.
Medications for PPD include:
- Suppressants or mood stabilizers
During postpartum psychosis, the doctors use antipsychotic drugs. For severe cases, the patient undergoes shock therapy. Doctors carry out the procedure utilizing electrodes to pass current through the brain.
Natural remedies for postpartum depression include massage therapy and consumption of omega 3 fatty acids. Low levels of omega fatty acids contribute to lack of hormones. Protective factors of postpartum depression are counseling and social support. The natural ways to prevent PPD include these protective measures.
Great article! Thanks for sharing this info as everyone, not just us women need to know how alarming this condition can be.