Giving birth to your baby is one of the most unique experiences a woman can go through. There are emotional and stressful events that many women go through a phase called baby blues immediately after birth. The baby blues are usually of passing nature and go away on their own. Sometimes the mother cannot recover mentally and develops postpartum depression that needs to be treated with the help of medical professionals.
If you think you might be suffering from postpartum depression, don’t hesitate to ask for help. There is successful postpartum depression therapy that can help you recover and enjoy spending time with your newborn again. It’s paramount that every mother learns to recognize the signs of postpartum depression and asks for help. Also, they get adequate treatment as it can help avoid more serious complications. Here’s what postpartum depression is, how it can be treated, and how to work on its prevention.
Diagnosing Postpartum Depression
Once you go to your regular after-birth check-up, your doctor will examine you and ask you questions about your overall well-being. He will ask about your thoughts and feelings to be able to determine if you have a problem with postpartum depression. This is a really important step for preventing postpartum depression and making sure every mother gets to enjoy time with her newborn baby. It’s important to be honest with your doctor since this can help them provide you with adequate care and treatment. As a part of evaluating your state, they may do the following:
- Ask you to fill in a depression questionnaire as a part of the depression screening. This will contain targeted questions to provide answers about your mental state and confirm if you are indeed suffering from postpartum depression.
- Do special blood tests to determine if there’s an underlying symptom for your postpartum depression such as an under-active thyroid.
- Recommend other tests that can help rule out other possible illnesses and conditions.
At Gentle Gynecology and Obstetrics, we make sure to provide our patients with immediate care and treatment. Our specialties include gynecological, obstetrical, and surgical service so you know you are in good hands. Contact us today and make an appointment so we can start working on your own treatment plan.
Types of Postpartum Depression
To be able to successfully treat postpartum depression, it’s essential that you are properly diagnosed. According to a postpartum depression case study, there are a few different types of depression after birth, from mild to severe cases. These include the baby blues, postpartum depression, and postpartum psychosis.
- Rest as much as you can
- Find time to take care of yourself and your well-being
- Eat well and drink plenty of water
- Connect with other Moms
- Accept help offered by family and friends
- Avoid psychoactive substances that make your state worse
The Baby Blues
The baby blues are known to affect as much as 80% of women after giving birth and are considered normal since they usually go away on their own. Sudden mood swings, impatience, insomnia, weepiness, fatigue, and other similar symptoms are completely normal for the period after childbirth. These usually go away after two weeks and don’t require any medical help. However, there are a few useful things you can do at home to help alleviate the symptoms:
If your baby blues symptoms don’t go away on their own after two weeks, it’s a good idea to seek professional help and rule out the possibility of postpartum depression.
1. Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression is manifested similarly to the baby blues, but its symptoms last much longer than the baby blues. Postpartum depression can develop during pregnancy, after birth, or even a few months or a year after giving birth. This is why it’s important to distinguish the baby blues from postpartum depression.
The most common postpartum depression symptoms include:
- Sudden and severe mood swings
- Difficulty spending time and bonding with your baby
- Excessive crying and weeping
- Becoming isolated and withdrawing from family and friends
- Feeling hopeless and not understood
- Severe anxiety and frequent panic attacks
- Loss of appetite
- Insomnia or oversleeping
- Anger, irritability, and restlessness
- No desire to do and enjoy the things you used to do before
- Feeling that you are a bad mother
- Thinking about harming the baby or yourself
- Thinking of suicide or death
Some mothers aren’t capable of recognizing the symptoms of postpartum depression which is why you should consult your healthcare provider and talk to them about everything you’re feeling at the moment. Leaving postpartum depression untreated can be extremely harmful to the mother and the baby, lasting for months and longer. Don’t wait long and seek professional help if you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms.
2. Postpartum Psychosis
The most severe case of postpartum depression involves postpartum psychosis. The symptoms of postpartum psychosis are much more severe than those of postpartum depression. Women who are diagnosed with postpartum psychosis have to be hospitalized and treated carefully. The symptoms include:
- Becoming obsessive about your baby
- Being confused and disoriented
- Trouble with sleeping
- Extreme anger and agitation
- Having hallucinations and delusions
- Trying to hurt your baby or yourself
Postpartum psychosis always requires medical help and has to be treated in hospital conditions. It’s usually treated with special medications and Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
Treatment Options for Postpartum Depression
If diagnosed on time, postpartum depression can be controlled and treated. Postpartum depression medication includes two types of therapy – psychotherapy (mental health counseling) and medication. In some cases, only one is enough, but sometimes both methods are combined for the best possible outcome:
Talking to a psychiatrist, psychologist, or another mental health professional can help every mother cope with her situation. Many mothers find it beneficial to go to therapy with their partners and other family members. Mothers can find better ways of coping with their everyday responsibilities and set realistic goals.
In some cases, the doctor might recommend including an antidepressant into your postpartum depression therapy. If you’re breastfeeding, you should talk to your doctor and decide if this is the best treatment option for you. Although antidepressants are generally safe for the baby, they do go to your milk if you consume them, so this should be a factor to consider. Postpartum depression and breastfeeding your baby can be done successfully, so make sure to inform yourself well about the matter.
Home Remedies for Postpartum Depression
Apart from concrete postpartum medications, every woman can do some things at home that can help her alleviate the symptoms of postpartum depression and reduce the risk of serious complications leading to postpartum psychosis. Some of the things that can help include:
- Making healthy lifestyle choices that involve proper rest, eating healthily, drinking enough water, avoiding alcohol, and being physically active.
- Making enough time for yourself and everything that makes you feel better – a long bath, getting out of the house, or any other activity.
- Setting realistic expectations and asking for help whenever you need it – don’t pressure yourself to do everything, try to open up to your family and friends. No one will judge you for that and you’ll feel much better and enjoy spending time with your baby.
- Avoiding isolating yourself and talk to your partner, family, and friends about what troubles you. If this doesn’t help, seek help from a medical professional.
- Connecting with other moms is also important for exchanging experience.
Although postpartum depression really needs medical attention, in most cases, women recover successfully if they seek help on time. Don’t be ashamed of what’s happening to you because it’s normal for many women to go through this. It’s important to learn to recognize the symptoms and make sure to ask for help.