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Postpartum Depression In New Moms

The birth of a baby can trigger a jumble of powerful emotions, from excitement  and joy to fear and anxiety. But it can also result in something you might not  expect — depression. 

Most new moms experience postpartum "baby blues" after childbirth, which commonly  include mood swings, crying spells, anxiety and difficulty sleeping. Baby blues typically  begin within the first two to three days after delivery, and may last for up to two weeks. 

But some new moms experience a more severe, long-lasting form of depression known  as postpartum depression. Rarely, an extreme mood disorder called postpartum psychosis also may develop after childbirth. 

Postpartum depression isn't a character flaw or a weakness. Sometimes it's simply a  complication of giving birth. If you have postpartum depression, prompt treatment can  help you manage your symptoms and help you bond with your baby. 

Symptoms 

Signs and symptoms of depression after childbirth vary, and they can range from mild to  severe. 

Baby blues symptoms 

Signs and symptoms of baby blues — which last only a few days to a week or two after  your baby is born — may include: 

  • Mood swings 
  • Anxiety 
  • Sadness 
  • Irritability 
  • Feeling overwhelmed 
  • Crying 
  • Reduced concentration 
  • Appetite problems 
  • Trouble sleeping

Postpartum depression symptoms 

Postpartum depression may be mistaken for baby blues at first — but the signs and  symptoms are more intense and last longer, and may eventually interfere with your  ability to care for your baby and handle other daily tasks. Symptoms usually develop  within the first few weeks after giving birth, but may begin earlier ― during pregnancy ―  or later — up to a year after birth. 

Postpartum depression signs and symptoms may include: 

  • Depressed mood or severe mood swings 
  • Excessive crying 
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby 
  • Withdrawing from family and friends 
  • Loss of appetite or eating much more than usual 
  • Inability to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much 
  • Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy 
  • Reduced interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoy 
  • Intense irritability and anger 
  • Fear that you're not a good mother 
  • Hopelessness 
  • Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt or inadequacy 
  • Diminished ability to think clearly, concentrate or make decisions 
  • Restlessness 
  • Severe anxiety and panic attacks 
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby 
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide 

Untreated, postpartum depression may last for many months or longer.

Postpartum depression in new fathers 

New fathers can experience postpartum depression, too. They may feel sad or fatigued,  be overwhelmed, experience anxiety, or have changes in their usual eating and  sleeping patterns ― the same symptoms mothers with postpartum depression  experience. 

Fathers who are young, have a history of depression, experience relationship problems  or are struggling financially are most at risk of postpartum depression. Postpartum  depression in fathers ― sometimes called paternal postpartum depression ― can have  the same negative effect on partner relationships and child development as postpartum  depression in mothers can. 

If you're a new father and are experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety during  your partner's pregnancy or in the first year after your child's birth, talk to your health  care professional. Similar treatments and supports provided to mothers with postpartum  depression can be beneficial in treating postpartum depression in fathers. 

When to see a doctor ?

If you're feeling depressed after your baby's birth, you may be reluctant or embarrassed  to admit it. But if you experience any symptoms of postpartum baby blues or postpartum  depression, call your doctor and schedule an appointment. If you have symptoms that  suggest you may have postpartum psychosis, get help immediately. 

It's important to call your doctor as soon as possible if the signs and symptoms of  depression have any of these features: 

  • Don't fade after two weeks 
  • Are getting worse 
  • Make it hard for you to care for your baby 
  • Make it hard to complete everyday tasks 
  • Include thoughts of harming yourself or your baby 

Helping a friend or loved one 

People with depression may not recognize or acknowledge that they're depressed. They may not be aware of signs and symptoms of depression. If you suspect that a friend or  loved one has postpartum depression or is developing postpartum psychosis, help them  seek medical attention immediately. Don't wait and hope for improvement.

Almost every mother faces postpartum depression. Some face more, some less. Eat heathy, think positive, take support of spouse, friends and family members talk to your doctor frequently.

 

Pooja Shah is a post graduate in economics and worked as a teacher in a reputed institution for almost 5 years. She is a mother of two kids, she is an avid reader and carries passion for writing.

Found this article useful? Read more blogs at www.themomstore.in 

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are the personal views of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the views of The Mom Store.

 


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