What is postpartum depression and where does it come from
Postpartum depression is a mental disorder that occurs in 10-15% of women after childbirth or pregnancy that does not end with the birth of a baby.
Why postpartum depression develops, no one knows for sure. Until the reasons for just depression are established, they suspect that this is a condition that is associated with many factors: predisposition, hormonal balance, personality type, individual experience, and injuries.
Pregnancy and childbirth are events that change the hormonal balance, affect health and often cause psychological trauma, that is, reinforce all the reasons why depression occurs. But it happens even in healthy and prosperous women and after relatively easy delivery.
Postpartum depression often affects women who have:
- There were already mental disorders before pregnancy.
- There are no close people who can help take care of the child or just support.
- Tensions with a partner.
- Something unpleasant happened, not even related to pregnancy and childbirth.
By the way, even Postnatal depression men suffer postpartum depression. But less often than women: only 1 out of 25 fathers experiences similar symptoms.
When does postpartum depression appear and how long
In the first two weeks after giving birth, it is perfectly normal to feel weak, be in a bad mood, and often cry. If in about 14 days this passes, then it is too early to talk about postpartum depression. Postpartum depression lasts longer, may last several months. If it is not treated, then it may no longer become postpartum, but simply depression, because months and years will separate it from childbirth.
Postpartum depression does not necessarily start at the hospital or after discharge: it can occur up to a year after the birth of the baby.
It doesn’t matter how many women the child already has. Depression can occur both after the first birth, and after any subsequent ones.
How to understand that it is depression
Symptoms of postpartum depression are similar to those of a regular:
- Constant bad mood, sadness, irritability, mood swings.
- Efficiency decreases, there is not enough energy.
- Interest in your favorite things and the world around you is lost.
- There are problems with sleep: both drowsiness and insomnia are considered.
- The appetite disappears or increases incredibly.
- I don’t want to communicate with people.
- It becomes difficult to concentrate, to keep attention.
- Frightening thoughts appear. For example, to harm yourself or your child.
- It becomes difficult, almost impossible to care for a child.
These symptoms rarely come one at a time. They can appear one after another and grow gradually, so postpartum depression is often not noticed.
In addition, depression is often prevented from recognizing social attitudes. By default, a woman should enjoy the new status of the mother, experience unearthly happiness and dissolve in the pleasant cares of the baby. The emotions of a depressed woman do not fit into this picture. As a result, a feeling of guilt for being “the wrong mother” and “unable to cope” is added to the already difficult state.
In addition, often surrounding people do not support a woman. Quite the contrary: they reproach that she is not happy and complains when she is obliged to shine with happiness. This can significantly aggravate depression and exacerbate its symptoms.
How to treat postpartum depression
First, you need to understand that depression can get to any mother, regardless of how the birth took place and how things are after them. This is the same disease as the flu or hypertension, but it affects the nervous system. And he must be treated.
The woman is definitely not to blame for the fact that she has postpartum depression.
Therefore, do not be embarrassed and hide disturbing thoughts and symptoms. They need to be shared with relatives and doctors in order to be cured on time.
Secondly, if there is reason to suspect depression, you need to seek help as quickly as possible. And for help to professionals, that is, psychotherapists. For the treatment of depression use:
- Psychotherapeutic methods. Contrary to a common myth, these are not just conversations about injuries and emotions. These are working methods by which the patient is taught to cope with complex emotional states.
- Special medicines, and these are not only antidepressants. Only a doctor can prescribe them, because an independent attempt to find a medicine can only exacerbate the symptoms.
- Diet. It’s not about losing weight, but about proper nutrition. From how a person eats, depends on his mental state.
- Physical exercise. Playing sports is one of the most stable and effective methods that help to cope with mental disorders, and especially with depression. Most likely, this is due to hormones: sport helps to produce the «right» hormones for a good mood.
How to Prevent Postpartum Depression
It is clear that the trigger for postpartum depression is childbirth, which is difficult to do without if you want to have a baby. There are no effective methods for preventing depression after childbirth; you can only reduce risk factors.
For example, one study found Postpartum Depression: Questions and Answers that Epidural Anesthesia at Birth Reduces the Risk of Depression.
It also turned out that chest pain is associated with depression due to feeding: many women have cracks in their nipples, and their breasts may become inflamed due to stagnation of milk. Sometimes you have to refuse to feed. All of these cases are associated with an increased risk of depression. Breastfeeding pain and postpartum depression. However, it is not clear how exactly: either because of depression, problems with feeding begin, or because of difficulties, depression develops.
Postpartum depression also occurs due to overwork and tiredness of Postpartum depression (recall that these are not the only reasons). It is impossible not to get tired at all, taking care of a small child. But you can help yourself:
- Enlist the support of loved ones and friends.
- Despite the difficulties in caring for a child, try to relax and not forget about yourself: eat properly and fully, play sports.
- Seek help, including professional help, if you feel that you are lacking in strength.
- Use gadgets and tools that make it easier to care for your child.
- Communicate with other mothers (especially those who have experienced depression) to understand: you are not alone.
- Remember that no one is perfect, and do not strive for the ideal image of the mother from advertising diapers.