Dealing with Post Partum Depression

While becoming pregnant and adding a new baby to your life seems like it would be the most joyful event some new mothers experience postpartum depression instead of the excitement they had planned. Amazingly, post-partum depression may have an onset of any time within a year of giving birth, so new mothers should be especially aware of their bodies and feelings during this time. Also, perinatal depression may develop during the pregnancy as well. Fortunately, if you know what causes post partum depression you can learn how to cope and deal.

Post-partum or perinatal depression is an induced state of sadness, frustration and anger that cannot be controlled by the new mother and as a result these extreme feelings interfere with her normal day to day activities. Unfortunately, many women who feel this way right after or shortly after the birth of their child simply attribute their feelings to lack of sleep and being responsible for a new life and many of the pre and post pregnancy symptoms are similar to those of postpartum depression such as sleepiness, strong emotional reactions, as well as weight changes. However, this is not the case and any woman who has recently given birth who experiences severe feelings of sadness, anger, frustration, or loss should report this to their doctor immediately. There are different levels of post-partum depression, from mild to severe, so women may experience a wide range of effects due to the severity of their depression.

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Also, all pregnant women should make themselves aware of these symptoms in order to seek early treatment for their health and the health of their baby as well. Many doctors and researchers believer perinatal and post partum depression are the number one pregnancy complication above and beyond gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, premature birth, and all the other well-known pregnancy complications. The risk of depression is due to several factors and evaluating these before pregnancy will help a woman evaluate her risk of perinatal or post-partum depression. The risk factors include substance abuse or previous experiences with depression, pregnancy, marital, or financial problems, mental illness in the family, age, no support network, and general anxiety about the pregnancy and fetus. These are simply risk factors, however they do not cause post-partum depression per se, the depression is actually a result of hormonal changes.

Once a woman gives birth her hormones change rapidly and sometimes depression is a result of the body reverting back to its pre-pregnancy state so quickly after childbirth. This is similar to the small hormonal and mood changes that affect women before their periods or what is also known as pre-menstrual syndrome. This is an onset of rapid hormone changes. However, the hormonal levels pre and post birth are significantly higher and the change significantly more severe, which is likely to induce post-partum depression especially if the woman is in a high risk category.

When a woman feels overwhelmed by the baby and her new responsibilities or experiences feelings of loss regarding her figure, past life, or attractiveness then the new mother may also be at risk for post-partum depression. Fortunately, if a woman knows the symptoms she can get treatment sooner and start feeling good about herself, her baby, and new role as mother. Any time a new mother feels irritable, stressed out, anxious, tired, lacks energy, or is sad she should talk to her doctor about her feelings because it may not be something she can handle on her own.

However, a woman experiencing perinatal or post partum depression has options to help her.

Group and individual therapies are good ways to share your feelings with other new moms and realize there is nothing wrong with you if you have post-partum depression. Also, anti depression medicine usually helps a new mother deal with her depression and get back to living a normal life and being happy about being a new mom. The new mother should also try to avoid becoming depressed by napping when the baby does in order to catch up on sleep and feel rested. Also, new mothers should not feel ashamed to ask for help. Women are not perfect and new mothers should not expect to handle all the responsibilities of cleaning, cooking and child care alone. Ask for help or hire help if possible.

Woman do not need to feel ashamed of having post-partum depression and soon as symptoms present themselves the new or soon-to-be mom should talk with her doctor in order to receive the best treatment as soon as possible. Quick treatment will lessen the negative effects on the new or pregnant mom, the baby, and the family.