Postpartum depression is a medical condition that mainly exists in women and has a very low frequency of occurrence in men. This is a clinical depression in most women, and mainly occurs after childbirth. The condition mainly exhibits emotional symptoms in the victims. This condition mainly begins in the initial months after a woman has given birth (usually it occurs after 6 months from childbirth). In women who may be under emotional pressure, the condition can occur as early as 4 weeks after childbirth. The condition may continue for a very long time, even for a year, especially if not given required medical attention. Medical practitioners attribute the disease to be the result of a lack of vitamins in the mother’s diet.
The signs and symptoms of this condition can be divided into three subcategories. These subcategories include:
This category is usually very short and may therefore not require any medical attention. The category is also referred to as baby blues. In this category, the effects of depression are usually mild and as such are suppressed with dietary changes. However, if the symptoms in this category are not well taken care of, it is highly possible that the symptoms will worsen and cause other medical conditions such as mental depression.
This symptom category is long lasting, at least in comparison with postpartum blues. In this category, the symptoms of the condition are clearly evident in the patient. The extent of depression in this stage is so great that it even affects the mother’s mind. Symptoms of the condition in this stage require professional handling in order for them to be successfully suppressed. Changes in diet may also be included in order to be able to boost the efficiency of the treatment options in use.
This is the final category of postpartum depression’s symptoms. This is the most severe and aggressive stage in the medical condition. In this category, the mother’s mental composition is also affected and she usually experiences stress in most circumstances. The depression also greatly affects her body’s health, appetite and even the body’s ability to function normally. This category requires professional counseling by a qualified psychiatric professional. This is the longest lasting category can stretch to a little over 6-9 months.
Signs of postpartum depression
- Lack of sleep/inability to sleep
- Loss of appetite
- Lack of concern of the baby’s welfare
- The inability to bond with the baby and the immediate family
- Anger and hostility, especially towards the baby and your family
- Loss of concentration/loss of memory
- Frequent mood swings with extreme highs and lows
- Emotional numbness towards family and your baby
- Recurrent suicidal thoughts, which may include several suicide attempts
- Intrusive behaviors, especially towards baby and family
- Extreme fatigue/lethargy
- Low self-esteem coupled with high levels of doubt and hopelessness
- Loss of weight due to the impact of stress and poor eating habits
Upon identification of these signs in a mother who just gave birth, it is advisable to enroll her for psychiatric sessions. This helps in ensuring that the mother’s depression is taken care of before it spirals out of control.
HOW TO TACKLE IT
Postpartum depression is quite common, but can also be serious. It definitely should not be ignored. It is a condition which may last several days to several months. In some rare instances, it may last several years, and have the potential of becoming postpartum psychosis. In fact, this is a much more severe situation, which will require immediate medical attention.
Just as changing hormone levels affect a woman’s mood during pregnancy, they continue to fluctuate after the baby is born and is the biggest cause of depression after giving birth. They usually begin to level out in the weeks following the birth, but can take a bit of time to go back to normal. Many women miss the pregnancy when it is over. Some feel sadness that the baby is not still growing inside them. Bonding with the child can help this situation. One of the best ways to do this is through breastfeeding. Even holding and rocking the baby can help.
Sleep deprivation can cause a woman to become exhausted, leaving her more susceptible to depression. Getting enough sleep is important. Many women choose to sleep when their baby is sleeping in order to counteract the lost sleep due to late-night feedings. Several short naps throughout the day are perfect for the new mother.
New mothers should never be afraid to ask for help, and this is especially after all hard work. People should indeed be taken up on their offers to help with household chores and babysitting.
Proper eating habits and appropriate exercise are as important now as they have been for the last year. Women need to take the best care of themselves to help their body recover from the events of the last nine months as one of the effective ways of dealing with depression.
Women should never be embarrassed to discuss depression with their physician. Regular visits should always be kept, and any concerns should be addressed immediately. Women should know that there is medication available for postpartum depression and should never be afraid to ask for it if needed.