Postpartum depression is very common, but can be hard to recognize. About 1 out of 9 mothers struggles with postpartum depression. However, postpartum is sometimes a taboo subject in families and is not discussed. You may want to talk to your mother or grandmother about their experiences in pregnancy to see if you might be at risk for developing postpartum depression.
What is Major Depressive Disorder with Peripartum Onset?
Postpartum Depression is an onset of depressed mood that occurs prior to delivery or postpartum.
What are the warning signs, symptoms, and diagnosis for Postpartum Depression?
There is a difference between a short spanned period of “baby blues” occurring right after the birth of the child, and postpartum depression. Postpartum depression lasts longer than baby blues symptoms do.
Symptoms of Baby Blues
Last a few days to 2 weeks postpartum
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
More intense and longer lasting than baby blues
Difficulty bonding with your baby
Withdrawing from friends and families
Depressed mood or mood swings
Fear that you’re not a good mother
Extreme difficulty in day-to-day functioning
Feelings of guilt, anxiety, and fear
Intense irritability or anger
Thoughts of death or suicide
Loss of pleasure in life
Insomnia or sleeping too much
Severe anxiety and panic attacks
Bouts of crying
Diminished ability to think clearly and make decisions
Thoughts of hurting oneself or the infant
Seeing things that don’t exist
Rapid mood strings
Criteria for Diagnosis
Dramatic hormone changes which replicate the symptoms of depression
What are the risk factors and causes associated with Postpartum Depression?
Increased risk due to:
Lack of social support
Anxiety and stress
Marriage conflict or money problems
Substance use disorders
Bipolar disorder or schizoaffective disorder can especially lead to psychotic symptoms
A baby with health problems
Unplanned or unwanted pregnancy
Previous depressive episodes postpartum or otherwise
Family history of depression
Physical changes due to a drop in hormones
Emotional issues like feeling less attractive, struggling with your sense of identify, or feeling like you’ve lost control of your life
What are the complications that may arise due to Postpartum Depression?
Untreated postpartum depression can lead to chronic depression and increases a woman’s risk for developing future episodes of major depressive disorder.
Fathers may experience emotional strain which increases the risk of developing depression as well.
Children of mothers with postpartum depression are more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems, such as sleeping and eating difficulties, excessive crying, and delays in language development.
Watch a video that discusses one woman’s experience with postpartum depression here.
Blog Post – When it’s More Than Just the Baby Blues
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