Basically, Post-partum Depression is a sort of mood disorder that the majority of women experience after giving birth to a child. The birth of a child can be very frustrating and strong enough to juggle up emotions. Though it is a happy moment, still unexpectedly it can push the mothers towards depression.
Many women experience “baby blues” after childbirth. This basically includes mood swings, anxiety, crying spells, and difficulty in sleeping. Baby blue usually begins after 2-3 days of delivery and can last up to 2-3 weeks. But it is different from Post-partum Depression. Post-partum depression is the more severe and long-lasting form of baby blue. Rarely, an extreme mood disorder called postpartum psychosis also may develop after childbirth.
Post-partum depression is not a form of weakness or personality flaw. Sometimes, it’s basically just a complication occurred after giving birth to a child. Post-partum depression can be treated if you know how to manage it and follow the way of correct treatment with medical assistance.
According to the DSM-5, a manual used to diagnose mental disorders, PPD is a form of major depression that begins within 4 weeks after delivery. The diagnosis of postpartum depression is based not only on the length of time between delivery and onset but on the severity of the depression.
Symptoms of postpartum depression can vary from person to person. The symptoms can go from mild to severe. But it is important to understand the difference between symptoms of baby blue and post-partum depression in order to seek the correct treatment.
Symptoms of baby blue:
Baby blue that causes mood swings, anxiety, crying spells, and difficulty in sleeping are
- Mood swings
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Reduced concentration
- Appetite problems
- Trouble sleeping
Also Read : 6 Easy Ways to Calm Down your Anxiety
Symptoms of Post-Partum depression
People might misunderstand post-partum as baby blue in the initial days due to being common but it is very important to look out and understand symptoms. Signs and Symptoms of Post-Partum depression are more severe and last longing. It can get so serious that it may hamper you from taking care of the baby and performing basic daily tasks. Symptoms may develop within the first few weeks after giving birth or during the last days of pregnancy.
- Depressed mood or severe mood swings
- Excessive crying
- Difficulty bonding with your baby
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Loss of appetite or eating much more than usual
- Inability to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much
- Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy
- Reduced interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
- Intense irritability and anger
- Fear that you’re not a good mother
- Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt or inadequacy
- Diminished ability to think clearly, concentrate or make decisions
- Severe anxiety and panic attacks
- Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
What is a postpartum psychosis
This is a very severe condition that may occur within a week after delivery. It is a rare condition and symptoms are-
- Confusion and disorientation
- Obsessive thoughts about your baby
- Hallucinations and delusions
- Sleep disturbances
- Excessive energy and agitation
- Attempts to harm yourself or your baby
This condition may make you experience life-threatening thoughts. It goes to a severe level. Hence, needs immediate medical treatment. Also, it is very essential to differentiate between the symptoms of baby blue, Post-Partum depression, and Postpartum psychosis.
Post-Partum depression in male
New fathers may also experience Post-Partum depression. Males may experience being sad or fatigued, be overwhelmed, experience anxiety, or have changes in their usual eating and sleeping patterns the same symptoms mothers with postpartum depression experience. New Fathers who have a history of depression, are under financial crisis, or are very young, have relationship issues may experience Post-Partum depression.
Post-Partum depression in males is also known as paternal postpartum depression. This sort of depression can potentially affect the relationship of parents and child development even if any one of the parents has it. If you’re a new father and are experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety during your partner’s pregnancy or in the first year after your child’s birth, talk to your health care professional. Similar treatments and supports provided to mothers with postpartum depression can be beneficial in treating postpartum depression in fathers.
When to see a doctor
Many people may feel embarrassed to admit that they are feeling depressed after their child being born. That’s why it is very important to educate yourself on this topic. If you are feeling depressed after the birth of your child for more than two weeks then you must consult your doctor. In case you see symptoms of Postpartum psychosis, then immediately take medical assistance.
You need medical assistance as soon as possible when the symptoms are –
- Don’t fade after two weeks
- Are getting worse
- Make it hard for you to care for your baby
- Make it hard to complete everyday tasks
- Include thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
Here are some complications can you face if you ignore post-partum depression.
For Mothers- Untreated Postpartum depression can last for a month or longer. If not taken care of it can be chronic and turn into a chronic depressive disorder. Even after treatment, Postpartum depression increases the risk for women to face future depressive episodes.
For Fathers– Postpartum depression can affect anyone close to the baby. If the mother of the baby experiences postpartum depression, the father is also likely to experience such depressive episodes. And new dads are already at increased risk of depression, whether or not their partner is affected.
Here are some preventions you can take in order to prevent postpartum depression-
During pregnancy, your doctor may monitor some initial symptoms of Depression. The doctor may urge you to undergo a proper depression examination test and ask you questions to know more about your current mental and emotional state. Mild depression can be treated by support groups, counseling, or other therapies. Anti-depressants may work, but one should definitely consult to doctor as it can risk the baby.
The doctor may straight away ask you to go through an early Postpartum checkup in order to examine the early signs and symptoms of Postpartum depression. It’s better to take this test as early as possible. The earlier it’s detected the earlier it can be treated. If you have a history of postpartum depression, your doctor may recommend antidepressant treatment or psychotherapy immediately after delivery.