Do You Know the Signs of Postpartum Depression

When you’re expecting you most likely imagine your life full of joy and bliss as you take on the roll of parenthood. Sure, you know there will be challenges and stress at times, but you also know that you’ve brought a new little person into your life that will make it worthwhile. What you don’t imagine is spending day after day feeling depressed and not knowing why. You could be experiencing signs of postpartum depression and may not even realize it.

worried mother

The truth is postpartum depression is more common than you might think. In fact, 1 in 8 women experience symptoms shortly after giving birth. If left undiagnosed and untreated it could lead to serious problems and even potentially become life-threatening. That is why it is vital to know and recognize the signs to receive proper treatment right away.

What is Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression or PPD typically occurs after having a baby resulting in a depression that is long-lasting and can be harmful. It’s different from ‘baby blues’ which is a result of the many emotions a new mom experiences. It is very common and normal for new moms to experience mood swings, anxiety, and irritability for a short time after giving birth, usually referred to as the ‘baby blues’. PPD, however, doesn’t just go away after a week or two. Signs of postpartum depression may include:frustrated-mother-suffering-post-natal-depression

  • Severe mood swings
  • Sadness
  • Severe irritability and anger
  • Low sex drive
  • Reduced appetite
  • Trouble with bonding with your baby
  • Insomnia
  • Thoughts of self-inflicting or suicide

Who Does Postpartum Affect?

Most new moms could never even dream of hurting their precious baby. You hear about a story in the news of a mother that intentionally tried (or even succeeded) in carrying out a harmful action towards her child and you think ‘what kind of person would do such a thing.’ The sad truth is that PPD can affect anyone, even the nicest, least-expecting person. In severe cases, it can even lead to postpartum psychosis. It affects more than just the person experiencing it; it can affect those around you as well.

Contrary to what some believe, it can occur in experienced parents as well so whether it’s your first or your 5th, you can develop PPD. Some people are more prone than others such as those who:

  • Have a history of depression whether prior, during, or later after pregnancy.
  • Have had recent events of stress such as job loss, illness, or pregnancy complications
  • Have a weak or no support system
  • Have bipolar depression

Women who experience this are often ashamed, feel guilty, or may not even understand why they are feeling the way they are. Seeking help could make a world of difference.

Treatment for Postpartum Depression

Treatment options for PPD usually include counseling, a support group, or taking antidepressants. Talking with your doctor about how you’re feeling can play a crucial part in early diagnosis and effective treatment so you can get back to feeling like yourself and enjoying your new baby.

Taking care of yourself can be an important element in reducing your chances of developing PPD. This means eating right, getting enough sleep, and exercise. This may be challenging with a new baby, but making the time to care for your needs can help you stay healthy both physically and mentally so you can better care for your better. Also have a support team. Whether it’s your spouse, your family, or a community of close-knit friends, surround yourself with supportive people that you can talk to and feel comfortable with. If you are concerned about experiencing signs of postpartum depression always talk with your doctor or seek a therapist for help. There is no shame in getting the help you need to ensure you are your best.

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