Postpartum Depression – Looming Signs, Causes & Proven Treatment

Giving birth is a joyous time for parents and family. However, the body undergoes a lot of hormonal changes. These hormonal changes in women allow them to be more susceptible to mental disorders one of them being postpartum depression. It is important to note that not only women suffer from postpartum depression but men too especially if they are facing financial difficulties or have a history of depression. Postpartum Depression, also known as PPD, is a disorder that occurs in 10-15% new mothers. It causes physical, emotional and behavioral changes. These changes can occur in the first few days or weeks after giving birth. These feelings are not your fault.

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Causes of Postpartum Depression

When having a baby, there are several changes that take place that may cause postpartum depression. These include:

1. Lack Of / Broken Sleep

Obviously newborns require a lot of attention and often times both parents get little sleep due to day and night feedings. Lack of sleep causes stress and frustration. When people do not get sleep, it can result in negative moods.

2. Hormonal Changes

Studies have shown that the abrupt drop of hormones (estrogen and progesterone) can lead to postpartum depression in susceptible women. When pregnant, estrogen and progesterone are at the highest levels they will ever be. In the first 24 hours those hormone levels quickly drop to normal. Levels of thyroid hormones may also drop after giving birth. Since this hormone regulates how the body uses and stores energy from food, having low levels of thyroid hormone can cause depression.

3. Mood Changes

Overwhelmed with a new baby, there may be so many feelings involved with a new one such as joy, excitement, sadness etc. The up and down moods can lead to depression.

4. Changes In Schedules

The continuous change in mom’s schedule can be very frustrating. This can also lead to be depression.

5. Lack Of Free Time

“It takes a village to raise a child”. Having that support from family and friends during that time is important. No one can do it alone. Not having that support can lead to postpartum depression.

Symptoms of Postpartum Depression

  • Feeling sad, worthless, helpless, or guilty
  • A loss of pleasure or interest in things that you once enjoyed
  • A loss in appetite or a gain in appetite
  • Worrying excessively or feeling on the edge
  • Trouble sleeping or wanting to sleep all the time
  • Lack interest in the baby or feeling anxious around the baby
  • Difficulty thinking or focusing
  • Excessive crying for no reason
  • Thoughts of hurting your baby
  • Thoughts of suicide

Treatment For Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression can be managed by:

  • Getting help from family members and friends -The support from family and friends is essential to mental health.
  • Getting the proper nutrition and exercise – Sometimes mothers neglect this aspect as they care for the day to day needs of the baby but this is a good way to assist in maintaining mental health.
  • Support groups – If there is no strong family support system it is wise to join support groups
  • Therapy – Postpartum depression can be managed with therapy.
  • Medication – This should be discussed with a doctor or a health care professional.
  • Some mothers may implement some healthy lifestyle changes.

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