Do I Have Postpartum Depression?

Do I Have Postpartum Depression?

Becoming a new parent is stressful in itself. Your body changes rapidly, new responsibilities pop up overnight, life changes completely for you in an instant and its easy to get overwhelmed by everything hitting you all at once. Some times our minds and bodies have a hard time processing all the rapid changes and this could lead to postpartum depression.

Understanding Postpartum Depression

Its important to note that postpartum depression is not just what some would call the “baby blues”.  After giving birth while our bodies adjust to the new responsibilities, sleep deprivation and all the stresses surrounding baby’s arrival can cause some women to be teary, moody and overwhelmed.  This is pretty natural and usually subsides after a couple of weeks.

Postpartum depression lasts for months. In rare cases, a severe case of depression called postpartum psychosis can occur.  In this case a woman could be having hallucinations or hearing things.  In this case it is very important that she seek help as she could become a danger to herself or others. This is a severe case and is rare, but even normal postpartum depression should be treated, because depression impairs you ability to enjoy your baby.

What causes it?

The exact reasons why some new moms experience postpartum depression and others don’t is unknown, however there are 3 contributing factors to it: Hormonal changes, physical changes and stress. After childbirth women experience many physiological changes. Your thyroid decreases production which can lead to fatigue. Hormone levels of estrogen and progesterone drop. There are changes to your blood pressure, immune system and metabolism. Your body will have a hard job adjusting to this and it can trigger the depression. Your physical body also changes, you may have pain left over from giving birth and may have to deal with body image issues that come with all the changes. This is stressful and taxing on your body and mind.  Not only that but now you have a newborn to care for. All these adjustments can be difficult to deal with.

How do I know if I have it?

In the beginning it is hard to tell if you have postpartum depression or just the normal “baby blues”.  Many of the symptoms are the same. Crying jags, irritability, sleeplessness, a general sad feeling. The difference in the beginning is that these symptoms are more severe. A sad hopeless feeling that leads to suicidal thoughts or thoughts of an inability to care for the newborn are definitely indications of more then just the blues. Certainly if your symptoms persist for more then a month you should seek help. Other persistent symptoms that can indicate that you have postpartum depression are feelings of guilt or hopelessness, lack of interest in your baby, negative feelings for the baby, thoughts of suicide or thoughts of running away, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, changes in your eating or sleeping patterns and lack of energy.

One thing to keep in mind is that you may not have any of these symptoms in the first few months but later on you do. This could also be postpartum depression presenting itself. The best thing you can do if you feel you might be experiencing it is to seek some professional help. Talk to your doctor and let them know what’s going on.

Jun 08, 2013
By: brenda

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