How Does Postpartum Depression Affect You?
Depression After Childbirth & During Pregnancy
The majority of women find having a baby to be an exciting, happy, and often anxious time. For women with peripartum (previously postpartum) depression, it could be very uncomfortable and difficult. An instance of depression that follows or after birth is known as peripartum depression. The term "peripartum depression" describes how having a baby-related depression usually manifests during pregnancy.
Changes in energy, sleep, and appetite are common symptoms of postpartum depression, a potentially fatal but treatable medical disorder marked by feelings of extreme sadness, apathy, or concern. It puts both the mother and the child in danger.
One out of every seven women suffer from peripartum depression
Pregnancy and the postpartum period make women more vulnerable. Mothers often experience biological, emotional, financial, and societal upheavals during this time. Some women are more likely to suffer from mental health conditions including anxiety and sadness.
Up to 70% of all new mothers experience the "baby blues," a temporary condition that has no impact on daily life and doesn't call for medical attention. This emotional condition is characterized by uncontrollable crying, annoyance, restlessness, and concern. These symptoms last for a week or two and often go away on their own without treatment.
Contrary to the "baby blues," peripartum depression may last months or longer and is physically as well as emotionally exhausting. It is imperative that the mother and the child both undergo counseling.
If peripartum depression is not addressed, it may have an adverse effect on both the mother's health and quality of life as well as the welfare of the unborn child, who may be delivered prematurely and with a low birth weight. Concerns about the baby's sleep and feeding patterns as well as communication difficulties might result from peripartum depression. In the long term, there is a greater risk of cognitive, emotional, linguistic, development, and social skill impairments in children of mothers who have had peripartum depression. 4 It's crucial to keep in mind that surrogates and gestational carriers might experience peripartum depression as well.
Many of these symptoms, varying in intensity, are often present in a woman who is experiencing peripartum depression. Due to these symptoms, new mothers may experience alienation, guilt, or humiliation. For peripartum depression to be diagnosed, symptoms must occur during pregnancy or within four weeks after giving birth.
Many women with peripartum depression also experience anxiety symptoms. According to one study, more than two-thirds of women who have peripartum depression also experience anxiety.
Despite the lack of an exact diagnostic test, peripartum depression is a real disorder that has to be taken carefully. Any expectant or new mother who is exhibiting peripartum depression symptoms should speak with a physician, such as an internal medicine physician or an OB-GYN, who may then refer the patient to a psychiatrist or other mental health professional. To rule out physical conditions that might manifest with symptoms similar to depression, a psychological assessment should be conducted together with a medical check (such as thyroid problems or vitamin deficiencies).
You should see your doctor if you have any of these symptoms.
- You've experienced some of the aforementioned signs for more than two weeks.
- You're considering hurting your kid or dying yourself.
- Your depressive symptoms are becoming worse.
- You find it difficult to look after your kid or do everyday tasks.
Many women endure pain in silence, seeing their struggles as a normal part of pregnancy and delivery and refusing to seek assistance. Throughout pregnancy, depression therapy is essential. Knowledge and awareness may assist both women and their infants.
Like other forms of depression, peripartum depression may be treated with psychotherapy (talk therapy), drugs, lifestyle changes, a supportive environment, or a combination of these approaches. Women who are expecting or nursing should discuss the risks and benefits of medication with their physicians. Unborn children normally have a low chance of birth defects. The decision should be made after a thorough evaluation of the potential risks and benefits of therapy vs no treatment for the mother's, pregnant child's, and/or nursing newborn's health.
According to APA recommendations for treating pregnant or nursing women with major depressive disorder, psychotherapy without medication is recommended as the first line of treatment when the depression or anxiety is mild. Women who have moderate to severe depression or anxiety may consider antidepressant medication as their first form of treatment.