Postpartum depression or PPD is a mood disorder affecting women after childbirth. Learn more about PPD here and get treatment right away if needed.
In this article:
- What Is Postpartum Depression?
- Who Is Likely to Experience PPD?
- When Is It Time to Seek Help?
- Where to Get Help for PPD?
- Why Is It Important to Seek Treatment or Help for PPD Immediately?
- How Do I Prevent Myself from Experiencing PPD?
Do You Have PPD? Your Questions Answered
What Is Postpartum Depression?
The coming of a new baby often brings a stream of different emotions. You can feel joy and excitement and also have anxiety and doubts. There are times, however, when moms feel depressed after giving birth.
“Postpartum” refers to the time after giving birth, and postpartum depression is a type of mood disorder associated with childbirth.
Most mothers experience a feeling of emptiness or anxiety following childbirth. They go through crying spells or feeling weepy without knowing why. They feel anxious and also experience difficulty sleeping.
These things are normal and are part of what they call ‘baby blues.’ It can start as early as two to three days after delivery and can last up to two weeks.
Postpartum depression and baby blues are not the same, though. Baby blues usually go away on their own, but postpartum depression is a serious mental illness that requires treatment.
Who Is Likely to Experience PPD?
PPD can affect any mother who recently gave birth. There are factors that make some women more susceptible to it than others.
Nature and nurture are possible reasons why some women are more likely to experience PPD. If mental health problems run in the family, it’s likely that the woman is genetically susceptible to PPD.
There are also risk factors other than just DNA. The environment surrounding the mother, especially during pregnancy, can put her at risk. A traumatic pregnancy or childbirth is another possible cause. Domestic violence and lack of social support are also seen as possible factors that can trigger PPD.
Even fathers can experience PPD following the childbirth of his wife. Paternal postpartum depression can affect new fathers.
They may feel sad, tired, and overwhelmed with the new responsibilities they have to face. Men who have a history of depression, have financial struggles, or experience relationship problems may be prone to paternal postpartum depression.
When Is It Time to Seek Help?
Baby blues or PPD doesn’t always set in immediately. It can occur two weeks after or even a year after childbirth. But if the feeling of emptiness or loneliness is extreme or has gone on for too long, exceeding two weeks to months, then it’s time to consider getting help.
Postpartum depression symptoms include:
- Sadness or weepiness
- Little to no energy
- Fear of hurting the baby or one’s self
- Difficulty sleeping
- Feeling of worthlessness or guilt
- Trouble keeping focus
- Having less interest in things you used to enjoy
If you or someone you know who just gave birth is experiencing these or other symptoms of PPD, it’s best to ask for help immediately. Prolonging treatment for PPD can disrupt day-to-day living.
Where to Get Help for PPD?
If you or someone you know is experiencing PPD, it’s best to get in contact with a clinical psychologist, counselor, or PPD therapist. There are also support groups that help those with PPD get back to their normal routines.
Why Is It Important to Seek Treatment or Help for PPD Immediately?
PPD, when left untreated, will not only cause problems in your everyday life but can also escalate to relationship issues and cause family problems. It can interfere with parent-child bonding and cause put an infant’s well-being at risk.
Mothers with untreated PPD can find themselves experiencing depression for months or even longer. This can lead to chronic depression and can pose a problem as she tries to raise her child.
Children with mothers who have PPD can experience trouble with eating and sleeping, depression, and can possibly grow up with behavioral problems.
Fathers also need to seek help if they are experiencing PPD. Not acknowledging and seeking help for PPD can cause a ripple effect within the family.
How Do I Prevent Myself from Experiencing PPD?
If you have a family history of mental health issues or depression, talk to your ob-gyn about it even during pregnancy. This way, your doctor can closely monitor you and check for signs and symptoms of PPD even before you give birth.
You can also opt for an early postpartum checkup once your baby is born. This way it can be detected earlier and treated earlier as well. Doctors can recommend psychotherapy or antidepressants immediately after delivery if you have a history of PPD.
What is psychotherapy? Otherwise known as talk therapy, this is one of the ways to help people who are struggling with mental illness and emotional instability.
Another important thing is to surround yourself with positivity during your pregnancy. Knowing that there are people who support you and love you is a big boost to your mental and emotional health.
Always talk to your spouse, family, and close friends about any concerns, and don’t set aside anything that’s bothering you.
What you need to know about postpartum depression. Watch this video from Medical Centric:
Postpartum depression affects a lot of mothers today. If you see signs or are experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression, call your doctor or counselor early on.
Remember, you are not alone and people are willing to help. If you also observe symptoms of PPD in your relatives or friends, extend a hand and help them get the help they need.
Are there any common questions about PPD we missed out? Let us know in the comments section!