Postpartum depression (also called postnatal depression) is a mental disorder that occurs in 10-15% of women after childbirth or pregnancy. No one knows why postpartum depression occurs. Scientists suggest that this condition is related to predisposition, hormonal balance, personality type, individual experience, and even injuries.
Pregnancy and childbirth are events that change the hormonal balance, affect health and often cause psychological trauma. Postpartum depression may occur even in healthy and prosperous women. Postpartum depression often occurs in women who already experienced mental disorders before pregnancy, don’t have close people who can help take care of the child, have tense relations with their partner. By the way, even men may have postpartum depression but less often than women.
When does postpartum depression occur?
It’s normal for a woman to be in a bad mood and often cry in the first two weeks after childbirth but it doesn’t mean that a woman has postpartum depression. Postpartum depression may last several months. If left treated, it may develop into a clinical depression which is very hard to get rid of.
How to recognize postpartum depression?
Symptoms of postpartum depression are similar to those of clinical depression:
- You always have a bad mood, sadness, irritability, and mood swings
- Your work efficiency is decreased
- You’ve lost interest in your favorite things and hobbies
- You have sleep disorders such as drowsiness or insomnia
- You experience loss of appetite or increased appetite
- You don’t want to communicate with people
- It’s difficult for you to concentrate
- You have frightening thoughts
- It’s hard for you to care for your child
These symptoms can appear one after another and grow gradually, that’s why it’s sometimes difficult to recognize postpartum depression.
How to treat postpartum depression?
You need to understand that depression may occur in any woman. This is a common condition and it affects the nervous system. The woman is definitely not to blame for the fact that she has postpartum depression. Therefore, don’t be embarrassed and hide your disturbing thoughts and symptoms. This condition must be treated timely.
If you have symptoms of postpartum depression, you need to immediately seek help from primary care physicians.
The treatment plan includes:
- Psychotherapeutic methods. These are working methods by which the patient is taught to cope with complex emotional states.
- Special medicines. Only a doctor can prescribe them. Self-medication may only exacerbate depression.
- Proper nutrition. The mental state depends on the foods that we eat.
- Physical exercise. Sports is one of the most effective methods that help to cope with mental disorders, especially depression. Physical activity contributes to dopamine production.
How to prevent postpartum depression?
One study found that epidural analgesia during childbirth reduces the risk of postpartum depression. It also turned out that chest pain is also associated with depression due to feeding.
Postpartum depression also occurs due to overwork and tiredness.
Things you should do to help yourself:
- Despite the difficulties in caring for a child, try to relax and not forget about yourself. Eat properly and fully, stay active.
- Visit a primary care physician.
- Use gadgets and tools that make it easier to care for your child.
- Communicate with other mothers (especially those who have experienced depression)