The most common problem in new mothers is postpartum depression. Almost 1 out of every 7 women will suffer from depressive illness after giving birth.
A little moodiness off and on and feelings of sadness which stay for a week or two after delivery are quite normal. These usually resolve on their own or by talking about them to a loved one. However, sadness and the constant feeling to cry which lasts much longer and incapacitate the mom are due to a medical condition which necessitates proper treatment.
So What Exactly is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression is a form of clinical depression. It can come on anytime after childbirth, from the first week after delivering the baby or a week or two later. The depression is severe and lasts for more than 2 weeks.
The mother feels depressed and hopeless most of the time and cries a lot for no reason. She may feel fatigued, have insomnia or oversleep. She may feel unable to do the most basic chores. She may lose her appetite or eat more than is normal for her. She may lose interest in her baby and find it difficult to feel close to or bond with the baby. She may also suffer from guilt, shame, loneliness and panic and may hide these feelings from others.
New Moms, You Need To Understand:
Any mother who is going through such mood upheavals should understand that these strong feelings are not her fault and that her condition is treatable. She needs to understand that the sudden dropping of her levels of hormones oestrogen, progesterone and/or her thyroid hormones in her body after child birth are what are causing these changes in her emotional state. If she sees a doctor her condition can be remedied.
Factors Affecting Postpartum Depression:
Some factors that may make new mothers more likely to get postpartum depression are if the mother is very young, if she has had such disorders in the past or if she has a family history of depression.
Women who are under a lot of stress are also more likely to suffer from PPD. Maybe the mother has had a difficult pregnancy or delivery, or is facing illness or loss in the family. Maybe she does not have any support at home or is going through financial or health problems. Any added external stress can certainly compound the depression. If the mother is alcoholic or uses drugs again she will be more prone to depressive illness after childbirth. Women with a negative self image or negative thoughts can also bring on the condition in themselves.
Baby Is Affected Too!
The baby too suffers when mother is depressed. The baby may cry a lot lacking the normal and healthy bonding between baby and mother. The baby may be neglected and undernourished leading to long term health and behavioral problems.
This Needs Immediate Attention
The sooner the mother sees a doctor the better it would be for both herself and her baby. The mother can approach her regular doctor or her obstetrician who can guide her to seek specialized care. Her hormone levels will be checked out and she may be advised counselling, group therapy, anti-depressants and hormones to cure her condition.
If left untreated postpartum depression can lead to a more serious condition called postpartum psychosis. Along with feelings of depression the mother can suffer from hallucinations, delusions, obsessions, paranoia and have thoughts about harming herself or the baby. This is a medical emergency and the mother must get help as soon as possible.
So take care of yourself, ask a gynecologist or a psychiatrist online, visit Doc N Me.