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What Is Postpartum Depression

What Is Postpartum Depression

What Is Postpartum Depression 

It is a type of depression that happens after having a baby. People with postpartum depression experience emotional highs and lows, frequent crying, fatigue, guilt, anxiety and may have trouble caring for their baby. The depression can be treated with medication and counseling.

Having a baby is a life-changing experience. Being a parent is exciting but can also be tiring and overwhelming. It’s normal to have feelings of worry or doubt, especially if you are a first-time parent. However, if your feelings include extreme sadness or loneliness, severe mood swings and frequent crying spells, you may have the depression.

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a type of depression that happens after someone gives birth. The depression doesn’t just affect the birthing person. It can affect surrogates and adoptive parents, too. People experience hormonal, physical, emotional, financial and social changes after having a baby. These changes can cause symptoms of postpartum depression.

If you have the depression, know that you are not alone, it’s not your fault and that help is out there. Your healthcare provider can manage your symptoms and help you feel better.

What are the types of postpartum depression?

There are three different types of postpartum mood disorders:

1. Postpartum blues or baby blues

The baby blues affect between 50% and 75% of people after delivery. If you’re experiencing the baby blues, you will have frequent, prolonged bouts of crying for no apparent reason, sadness and anxiety. The condition usually begins in the first week (one to four days) after delivery. Although the experience is unpleasant, the condition usually subsides within two weeks without treatment. The best thing you can do is find support and ask for help from friends, family or your partner.

2. Postpartum depression

It is a far more serious condition than the baby blues, affecting about 1 in 7 new parents. If you’ve had postpartum depression before, your risk increases to 30% each pregnancy. You may experience alternating highs and lows, frequent crying, irritability and fatigue, as well as feelings of guilt, anxiety and inability to care for your baby or yourself. Symptoms range from mild to severe and may appear within a week of delivery or gradually, even up to a year later. Although symptoms can last several months, treatment with psychotherapy or antidepressants is very effective.

3 . Postpartum psychosis

Postpartum psychosis is an extremely severe form of postpartum depression and requires emergency medical attention. This condition is relatively rare, affecting only 1 in 1,000 people after delivery. The symptoms generally occur quickly after delivery and are severe, lasting for a few weeks to several months. Symptoms include severe agitation, confusion, feelings of hopelessness and shame, insomnia, paranoia, delusions or hallucinations, hyperactivity, rapid speech or mania. Postpartum psychosis requires immediate medical attention since there is an increased risk of suicide and risk of harm to the baby. Treatment will usually include hospitalization, psychotherapy and medication.

Who is affected by postpartum depression?

The depression is common. As many as 75% of people experience baby blues after delivery. Up to 15% of these people will develop postpartum depression. One in 1,000 people develop postpartum psychosis.

How do I know if I have baby blues or postpartum depression?

Many people have baby blues after giving birth. Baby blues and postpartum depression have similar symptoms. However, symptoms of baby blues last about 10 days and are less intense. With postpartum depression, the symptoms last weeks or months, and the symptoms are more severe.

You may have the baby blues if you:

  • Have crying spells.
  • Feel overwhelmed.
  • Lose your appetite.
  • Have trouble sleeping.
  • Have sudden mood changes.

Remember, it doesn’t hurt to share your symptoms with your provider. They can assess if you need treatment for your symptoms.

How long does the depression last?

Postpartum depression can last until one year after your child is born. However, this doesn’t mean you should feel “cured” in one year. Talk to your healthcare provider about your symptoms and treatment. Be honest about how you feel. Think carefully about if you feel better than you did at the beginning of your diagnosis. Then, they can recommend ongoing treatment for your symptoms.

What factors increase my risk of being depressed after the birth of my child?

Certain factors increase your risk for postpartum depression:

  • Having a personal or family history of depression, postpartum depression or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
  • Limited social support.
  • Marital or relationship conflict.
  • Ambivalence about the pregnancy.
  • Pregnancy complications like health conditions, difficult delivery or premature birth.
  • You’re younger than 20 or a single parent.
  • Having a baby with special needs or a baby who cries a lot.What are the symptoms of postpartum depression?

Some people feel ashamed about their symptoms or feel they are terrible parents for feeling the way they do. Postpartum depression is extremely common. You’re not the only person who feels this way, and it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person.

You may have postpartum depression if you experience some of the following:

  • Feeling sad, worthless, hopeless or guilty.
  • Worrying excessively or feeling on edge.
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or things you once enjoyed.
  • Changes in appetite or not eating.
  • Loss of energy and motivation.
  • Trouble sleeping or wanting to sleep all the time.
  • Crying for no reason or excessively.
  • Difficulty thinking or focusing.
  • Thoughts of suicide or wishing you were dead.
  • Lack of interest in your baby or feeling anxious around your baby.
  • Thoughts of hurting your baby or feeling like you don’t want your baby.

Contact your healthcare provider if you think you have postpartum depression. This can be your obstetrician, primary care provider or mental health provider. Your baby’s pediatrician can also help you.

What causes the depression?

More research is needed to determine the link between the rapid drop in hormones after delivery and depression. The levels of estrogen and progesterone increase tenfold during pregnancy but drop sharply after delivery. By three days postpartum, levels of these hormones drop back to pre-pregnancy levels.

In addition to these chemical changes, the social and psychological changes associated with having a baby increase your risk of postpartum depression. Examples of these changes include physical changes to your body, lack of sleep, worries about parenting or changes to your relationships.

What Is Postpartum Depression

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