The US Department of Health and Human Services stated in 2016 that thirteen percent of women who give birth will suffer from postpartum depression shortly after having their babies. Postpartum depression is a real illness and is more than the baby blues that most new mothers experience at some point after the birth of their child.
Postpartum depression can be severe and women need to know the signs, symptoms, causes and treatments so that they can get the best help possible.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
In 2016 the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota defined the following symptoms to be characteristic of postpartum depression
- Appetite changes
- Inability to sleep
- Feeling angry or irritable for no reason
- Extreme tiredness
- Disinterest in sex
- Unable to enjoy life or new baby
- Feeling guilty, ashamed or inadequate
- Mood swings
- Not bonding with baby
- Isolating oneself from significant others
- Suicidal or homicidal thoughts toward self or baby
Taken individually some of these symptoms may seen to be the logical results of just having given birth or from lack of sleep due to the care of a newborn. When multiple symptoms occur together a bigger problem is usually suspected.
What Causes Postpartum Depression?
Although the cause of postpartum depression is not yet completely understood the US Department of Health and Human Services tells of some potential issues that may make a woman more susceptible to the illness.
- Hormone changes occur rapidly after a woman has a baby and in sensitive women such changes can lead to depression
- Some women find that their thyroid hormone levels drop after having a baby and this postnatal hypothyroidism may contribute to postpartum depression
- Some women set the bar to high for themselves and their babies. When they do not meet he perfect expectations that they have for themselves depression may result.
How is Postpartum Depression Treated?
WebMD states that the most common and most effective treatments for postpartum depression are counseling for the mother and starting the mother on an antidepressant. New mothers may benefit from speaking to a therapist about the struggles of being a new mother. Medication may help bring the chemicals in the brain back into balance after massive hormone fluctuations after childbirth take place.
SSRIs tend to work well in women experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression. There are a few antidepressants for breastfeeding mothers that work effectively and will have little to no effect on the baby. Some women fear taking medication for postpartum depression while breastfeeding and can be reassured that they will still nurse their infants and get help at the same time.
A woman who is experiencing should know that she is not alone and feeling the way she does is not an indicator that she is a bad mom. Postpartum depression is an illness and is something that can be treated. New moms who believe they may be suffering from postpartum depression should speak with a doctor right away.