Postpartum depression: Know everything about this condition

Women are always more emotionally exposed, especially after having their first child. The changes are not only physical as many may think, the mood can decline considerably to cause depression. When this happens, there may be anxiety, sadness, the urge to cry, etc. There are cases that are more serious and this condition is called postpartum depression. Know everything about this disease.

What is postpartum depression?

Known as postpartum depression a type of depression that occurs in women days after childbirth. It is a condition that can last a year or more and if not treated in time it can become serious and even dangerous. This type of depression is not just about mood swings or fatigue, so it requires a visit to the doctor.

This condition is very common in new mothers, as it is the first time that their body has undergone so many changes. It is very important to treat postpartum depression as soon as possible, as it could develop into postpartum psychosis which can be even more dangerous.

What are the main causes of postpartum depression?

The truth is that there is no specific evidence about the causes of postpartum depression. However, both the physical and emotional parts contribute a lot to the appearance of this condition.

Physical part: When a woman gives birth, various physical changes occur, including a significant decrease in progesterone and estrogen. This reduction in hormone levels can cause this condition to appear. Likewise, the production of other hormones is also reduced, which leads to the appearance of other symptoms. Fatigue, the desire to do nothing and of course and depression, is part of the reduction in the production of these hormones.

Emotional part: When the body is exhausted, the mind does not function properly, so the smallest things can become real problems. In this case, other problems such as anxiety arise, especially with the care of the baby. The fact of not feeling good about your body, fear of believing things will not turn out well, etc. can also contribute.

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What are the symptoms of postpartum depression?

Sometimes this condition is mistaken for common depression. However, its symptoms are usually more severe, its time is longer and it causes the mother to be unable to care for her baby. Even simple tasks that are normally done without any difficulty become quite complex. Most symptoms appear in the days after delivery. The symptoms of postpartum depression are as follows:

– Depression and sudden changes in mood.

– Complications to establish a bond with the newborn.

– Prolonged crying throughout the day.

– Desires to get away from family members and anyone close to them.

– In some cases it causes insomnia and in others it is the opposite, that is, sleeping for many hours.

– Drastic decrease in appetite or excessive desire to eat.

– Tiredness and drastic decrease in energy.

– Irritation from anything.

– Discouragement.

– Fear of knowing whether or not she can be a competent mother.

– Serious cases of anxiety.

– Loss or little interest in daily activities.

– Restlessness.

– Shame, feelings of guilt or inadequacy.

– Little ability to concentrate.

– The thoughts are not clear, especially when making any kind of decision.

– Strong panic attacks.

– Suicidal thoughts.

– Desires to harm yourself or the newborn.

Main risk factors in postpartum depression

The risk of suffering from this condition can be increased due to certain situations. The risk factors in postpartum depression, are the following:

– The mother suffers from bipolar disorder.

– There is a history of a depressive condition during the gestation period.

– Stress caused by situations related to pregnancy or outside of it.

– During the previous pregnancy, postpartum depression was also diagnosed.

– If there is a family history of depression or some other problem that affects your mood.

– If the newborn has any disease.

– If there is any inconvenience when breastfeeding.

– If now or in the previous pregnancy there was a multiple birth.

– When you don't have an adequate support system.

– When there are problems at an economic level.

– If the parents have problems with the relationship.

– When the pregnancy is unwanted, that is, it was not planned.

When is it time to go to the doctor?

From the moment the labor ends, the mother requires various care to ensure her health and that of the baby. For this reason, it is important for the couple and family members to be vigilant in the event of any symptoms related to this condition. In this situation, you should see a doctor in case of presenting the following signs:

– The depression remains after several weeks.

– Symptoms remain and even tend to worsen.

– Impossibility of properly caring for the newborn.

– Inability to carry out simple tasks.

– Appearance of suicidal thoughts.

If this last symptom appears, the mother should be taken to a specialist as soon as possible, as she could harm herself. Or worse, cause a minor or significant injury to the baby. When it comes to a new mother, partner and family support is essential to prevent postpartum depression from developing.

How can postpartum depression be treated?

Treatment for this condition depends on the severity of the symptoms in the mother. In some situations prevention is the best treatment, however, most of the time medication is required to control this condition.

As a treatment, the most recommended is the following:

– Have the support of your partner, family members and even close friends. Especially to help with household chores and baby care.

– Speak freely about what you feel at all times.

– It is not advisable to make drastic changes on a personal level during pregnancy or days after giving birth.

– Letting things flow is best, as doing more than you can will develop this condition.

– Spending quality time with your partner is very important, especially after giving birth.

– Sleep is essential, since physical and mental exhaustion can lead to depressive disorders.

– Being part of a support group, having conversations with other mothers can be of great help in these cases.

In general, when faced with this condition, specialists prescribe a series of medications to keep the mother's health under control. Breastfeeding periods should be taken into account, since the types of drugs to be administered will depend on these.

Depending on the degree of depression, cognitive behavioral therapy, also known as CBT, is recommended. Another of the psychotherapies is interpersonal therapy.

What if postpartum depression is not treated?

If not treated in time, postpartum depression can present serious complications that can harm the mother and the baby. Besides, it can generate serious problems in the couple's relationship and also with the family.

Over time the disease could become chronic and even with treatment it could be very difficult to cure. Men also suffer the consequences of this type of depression, because they often succumb to the pressure.

This condition is not easy to cope with, so you need a lot of patience and love. This on the part of the couple and the entire family circle, women must go through many physical and hormonal changes. Which means, you will be very sensitive most of the time, so understanding should never be lacking.

Bringing a child into the world is sometimes not as easy as many may believe. It is a complicated process in which the mother and baby require a lot of care. Not only during the time of pregnancy, but also after delivery.

Sources:

mayoclinic

medlineplus

healthychildren

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