However excited you are to finally get to know that tiny newborn that you fantasized about throughout your pregnancy, having a baby is a life-changing event that changes your world. Coping with roller-coaster hormones and lack of sleep, it’s no surprise that many moms feel overwhelmed and less than ecstatic about this new phase of life shortly after giving birth — experiencing a bout of the so-called “baby blues.”
For some mums, however, those feelings linger and become worse rather than better, developing into what’s known as postpartum depression (PPD). PPD is more common than you might think, occurring in about one in nine new moms.
Baby Blues Vs PPD
The terms “baby blues” and “postpartum depression” are sometimes used interchangeably but they are two distinct conditions. While baby blues are totally normal and very common, experienced by an estimated 70 to 80 percent of new moms, usually begins within a few days postpartum and continue for about two to three weeks, PPD symptoms are more pronounced and long-lasting.
PPD symptoms are often similar to those of the baby blues, however, while the baby blues last for only a short time and symptoms tend to be mild, PPD symptoms can begin anytime within the first year after birth — from right after birth to a woman’s first postpartum period to when the baby is weaned. And these symptoms can last for weeks, months or even a year or longer.
What Causes PPD?
The exact cause of PPD is not known, though it is believed that hormonal changes that happen after childbirth may trigger symptoms.
Many other big life disruptions may play a role, too, including feeling overwhelmed with a brand new baby, lack of sleep, an unrealistic view of motherhood, stress from changes in your routines at home and work, feeling less attractive and struggling with a new sense of identity.
Symptoms Of Postpartum Depression
The signs and symptoms can differ from mom to mom, so can the severity of it. but
- Eating Problems(A loss of appetite or an excessive one)
- Persistent feelings of sadness, hopeless or helplessness
- Disrupted sleep
- Social isolation
- Severe anxiety
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy
- Having negative feelings towards or little interest in your baby
- Inability to care for yourself or your baby
- Fear of being alone with your baby
- Obsessive thoughts about your baby’s health.
Who Is At Risk?
There are a number of risk factors which can predispose a woman to PPD, but even women who do not have the risk can have PPD. See the risk factors below:
- A personal or family history of depression, depression during pregnancy, bipolar disorder or other mental illnesses.
- Stressful events within a year of childbirth
- Financial or relationship problems
- Complications during pregnancy or delivery
- Little or no social support
- Having a preterm baby
- Having a baby who’s hospitalized
- Giving birth to multiples
Postpartum depression is one of the most treatable forms of depression. So if it happens to you, don’t suffer with it for longer than you have to.
Speak with your healthcare provider, he/she will ask you questions that will aid diagnosis and then proceed to proffer solutions. Treatments may be in the form of medications, acupuncture or talk-therapy.
- Eat well. Studies have shown that not getting enough of certain nutrients including Vitamin D can be a risk factor for PPD
- Prepare yourself by having realistic expectations
- Get a support system just before your baby is born
- Engage in light exercises or physical activity, including taking brisk walks
- Spend time with friends and family and enjoy yourself as an individual