Parenting And Postpartum Depression
If youre experiencing postpartum depression or think that you might be, youre not alone. Postpartum depression is considered very common, and statistics indicate that about one out of every eight people who give birth experience depression after giving birth. Despite the prevalence of postpartum depression, it can feel like a lonely, isolating, and scary experience. So, what exactly is postpartum depression, and how do you navigate postpartum depression as a parent?
Postpartum Depression Can Trigger Traumatic Family Changes With Particularly Devastating Consequences For Family Dogs
A friend sent me a message today and shared what I can only describe as a very personal struggle. I believe she chose to confide in me because she knows that Im passionate about helping dogs and their humans live better lives together. But the situation she described was not even on my radar screen.
My friend and her husband had recently started their family. About a year ago she gave birth to their first child. Then, just three months ago, they were blessed with twins. Needless to say, my friend has her hands full. Prior to becoming pregnant, she and her husband had always considered their 8-year-old Catahoula-mix and her 12-year-old feline sidekick their kids.
They adored their pets. They were also proactive in researching how to properly and safely introduce their babies to their pets. They wanted to make it as stress-free as possible for everyone involved.
What they were not prepared for is how my friends postpartum hormones would make her feel toward their beloved dog and cat. As she describes it, Every scratch, water slurp, and food crunch set my blood boiling, and I hated myself for it. If the dog would sneeze or shake her head, it would invariably wake one or more of the babies, and this would invoke extreme anger in my friend.
Antidepressant Side Effects And Considerations
All antidepressants can cause side effects, such as:
- dry mouth
Antidepressants often take several weeks to start working, so patience is required. They must be taken exactly as prescribed, without skipping doses. Youll start with the smallest dose, but your doctor can increase the dosage a little at a time if its not working. It may take some trial and error to find the best medication and the right dosage for you. While taking antidepressants, youll need to see your doctor regularly.
If youre taking a high dose or take antidepressants for a long time, you may have to taper off when youre ready to stop. Stopping suddenly can increase side effects.
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Diagnosis Of Maternal Behavior Problems In Dogs
After giving your dogs medical history and the reason for your visit, the veterinarian will do a physical examination. Your veterinarian may also run a CBC and urinalysis to rule out any medical reasons for the maternal behavior problem. If not neutered, they may perform a vaginal cytology to determine what stage of her cycle your female is in.
The Stigma Around Male Postpartum Depression
Our society subscribes to the cultural myth that men should be stoic and tough things out, notes Dr. Courtenay. So when men start to feel anxious, empty, or out of control, they dont understand it and they certainly dont ask for help. Women, on the other hand, tend to have a larger social network and share stories and strategies during pregnancy and life as a mom. Their husbands almost always assume theyre alone in feeling sad or scared to be a dad.
Experts believe that paternal postpartum depression may be more prevalent now largely because this generation of fathers is feeling the same psychological, social, and economic stressors that some mothers have long experienced. The trend toward dads staying home with Baby while mom goes off to work is becoming more widespread. With more moms working, dads are shouldering child care and household tasks that traditionally fell to women. They have plenty of stress and little sleep, and this, along with hormonal changes, can lead to depression.
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Causes And Risk Factors Of Postpartum Depression
Hormonal fluctuations that occur after birth can play a big role in a new mothers mood changes. During pregnancy, estrogen and progesterone levels increase to fortify both the uterus and the placenta. But delivery alters the levels of those and other hormones.
After giving birth, hormone concentrations drop by 100-fold within a matter of days, says Katherine Wisner, MD, the director of the Asher Center for the Study and Treatment of Depressive Disorders at Northwestern Medicine in Chicago. The sudden plunge may create disturbances in mood, particularly in women who have prior histories of depression or anxiety, as noted above.
Periods of hormonal fluctuation, such as menstrual cycles and perimenopause, are associated with major depressive episodes, says Dr. Wisner. It could be that the fluctuations that occur during and after pregnancy may affect certain neurotransmitters or brain function in other ways.
This massive drop in hormones, along with the initiation of breastfeeding, disrupted sleep, and adapting to motherhood all contribute to the risk for developing depression, she adds.
Alterations In Neurotransmitter Levels Such As Serotonin
According to recent studies, trace elements exert their antidepressant effects from neurotransmitter pathway for example, the contribution of serotonergic system in antidepressant effect of zinc . In another study, the involvement of nitric oxide pathway in the antidepressant effects of zinc is reported . On the other hand, monoaminergic and nitrergic systems are involved in antidepressant effects of magnesium .
Despite the high prevalence of postpartum depression, up to 50% of the cases of postpartum disorders go undiagnosed or untreated .
Women with PPD may look for psychotherapy as a first treatment, but psychotherapy will not always be effective, and women with severe symptoms may need to consider antidepressant medications however, the high cost and side effects of antidepressants remain important treatment obstacles for many women .
Furthermore, many women prefer nonpharmacological interventions due to the potential transmission of medication into breast milk and fright of addiction or dependence . On the other hand, negative effects of untreated PPD on short-term and long-term child development are well recognized .
We reviewed papers to recommend the trace elements as a supplement for treatment of postpartum depression. The purpose of this review is to draw a new view of postpartum depression treatment with lowest side effects in fact this review is an introduction for future studies.
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Why Is Treatment Important
Most women will get better without any treatment within 3 to 6 months. 1 in 4 mothers with PND are still depressed when their child is one-year-old.13 However, this can mean a lot of suffering. PND can spoil the experience of new motherhood. It can strain your relationship with your baby and partner. You may not look after your baby, or yourself, as well as you would when you are well. PND can affect your child’s development and behaviour even after the depression has ended.14 So the shorter it lasts, the better.
The treatment you need depends on how unwell you are. You should be told about all the likely benefits and risks of treatment so you can make the best choice for you.
Treatment includes: 15
Dads Get Postpartum Depression Too
10% of New Dads Become Depressed Before or After Babyâs Birth, Researchers Say
May 18, 2010 — Although postpartum depression in new moms is well known and well documented, slightly more than 10% of new dads also become depressed before or after their babyâs birth.
The new findings were presented at a news conference sponsored by the American Medical Association and appear in the May 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
âThis is a rate that is two times higher than what is generally seen in adult men,â says researcher James F. Paulson, PhD, a pediatrician at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk. âThis is a public health concern and something we need to pay attention to.â
Symptoms of paternal depression include sadness, loss of interest, sleep problems, and low energy. Other red flags may include irritability, withdrawal, and disengagement from the family, he tells WebMD.
The researchers analyzed 43 studies of 28,004 fathers that looked at paternal depression between the first trimester and the first year of the babiesâ life. Of these, 10.4% of dads were depressed. By contrast, 4.8% of men in general population are depressed.
The rate of depression among dads peaked three to six months after birth, the study showed.
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What To Do Remedy
If she continuously refuses to eat, feed her with feed supplements through a syringe. This can last for days or weeks, depending on the severity of her condition.
All dogs are different, and some are able to recover quickly from the hormonal swings that occur after pregnancy.
Keep your dog entertained, do more of the things he enjoys, increase the amount of exercise, and all should be well.
Reward your dog when he shows signs of joy, and be careful not to encourage negative behavior by lavishing attention and treats on a depressed dog while hes moping.
You can always pay a visit to the vet to make sure there isnt another illness behind these symptoms.
Is Postpartum Depression Different From The Baby Blues
As an expecting parent or a parent with a newborn, youll likely hear the term baby blues fairly often. This refers to a very mild emotional reaction to childbirth you may be a bit stressed, teary or more dependent on others.
The baby blues are more of a time of adjustment, says Dr. Shosh, with mild mood ups and downs that dont interrupt your sleep , and they typically last about two weeks after giving birth. After that two-week transition period of adjusting to a new schedule, a new person and a new role as a parent, the blues start to feel less overwhelming and your overall mood feels happier and calmer. Essentially, the baby blues are mild and transient.
The baby blues and postpartum depression are differentiated by severity. If your symptoms are severe enough to get in the way of your daily functioning, its more likely that youre experiencing PPD. The onset of PPD can overlap the baby blues, and can happen as soon as immediately after your little one arrives or as far out as up to a year afterward. While the baby blues only last a few weeks at most, postpartum depression symptoms can continue indefinitely.
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Doesn’t Everyone Get Depressed After Having A Baby
Having a baby is a time of huge change. It is common to feel many different emotions. Not everyone gets a depressive illness.
Over half of new mothers will experience the ‘Baby Blues’.4 This usually starts 3 to 4 days after birth. You may have mood swings. You may burst into tears easily. You can feel irritable, low and anxious at times. You may also over-react to things. It usually stops by the time your baby is about 10 days old. Women with baby blues do not need treatment. If it continues for more than 2 weeks, tell your health visitor or GP. They can check whether you have PND.
Many possible causes for PND have been suggested. There is probably no single reason, but a number of different stresses may add up to cause it.
You are more likely to have PND if you have2:
- Previous mental health problems, including depression
- Depression or anxiety during pregnancy
- Poor support from partner, family or friends or marital difficulties
- A recent stressful event – e.g. death of someone close to you, relationship ending, losing a job.
- Experienced domestic violence or previous abuse
- Arrived in a developed country as a refugee or to seek asylum
There may be a physical cause for your depression, such as an underactive thyroid or low levels of vitamin B12. These can be easily treated.
PND can start for no obvious reason, without any of these causes. Also having these problems does not mean that you will definitely have PND.
The following are suggestions that may help to keep you well.
Depressed Parents Less Likely To Read To Their Kids
The researchers looked to see whether the parentsdepression affected their interaction with their children.
What we found, Paulson says, is that both moms and dads who were depressed were significantly less likely to engage in interactions such as reading, telling stories, and singing songs to their infants.
But only the dads behavior significantly affected their childs development at 24 months specifically in terms of how many words the child used, Paulson says.
If their dads were depressed and didnt read to them, the infants had a much smaller vocabulary, he says.
There was no link between the baby-mom interactions and the childs command of words at 2 years.
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Puppy Blues: Coping With Post
The puppy blues refers to an emotional state of feeling overwhelmed, sadness, anxiety, or regret that many people experience after bringing home a new dog. While the puppy blues may last a few months, there are ways to cope with and navigate this experience, including connecting with other new dog owners, taking time for yourself, and talking with a therapist or mental health expert.
If you think your puppy-blues are starting to negatively impact your life, work, or relationships, you may want to speak with a therapist. who specializes in working through the complicated feelings that come with new pet ownership. Getting started is free, easy, and confidential.
Can Dogs Be Depressed And Should I Be Worried About It
There may be times you look at your dog and wonder what he or she is thinking. Other times you may get the feeling that your dog is anxious or feeling out of sorts. This may lead you to feel that your dog is depressed. Unfortunately, this is possible. Keep reading for information on depression in dogs, details on how serious it is, and what can be done to help you and them.
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Is Owning A Dog Good For Depression
Pets, particularly dogs and cats, can relieve stress, anxiety, and depression, alleviate isolation, promote exercise and playfulness, and even improve your cardiovascular health. Caring for an animal will help kids grow up healthy and more involved. For older adults, pets can have useful companionship.
Where To Get Help
The help and treatment you need depends on how severe your PND is. Your GP and health visitor can help you decide what kind of help you need. If you dont get the help you think you need straight away, you can ask for a second opinion or you could see a different GP.
Try some of the self-help suggestions below. If this is not enough, you might find a talking therapy helpful. For more severe depression, you may need medication, with or without talking therapy. Your GP can advise you about these treatments.
A small number of women will need help from mental health services. Your GP can refer you to a perinatal mental health service – a specialist service for pregnant women or women with a baby under a year old. Otherwise you can be referred to a Community Mental Health Team. These are usually only needed for women with more severe illnesses.
Only a few women will need to go into hospital for treatment of PND. In that case, you should usually be admitted with your baby to a specialist Mother and Baby Unit.
If you cannot look after yourself or your baby, or if you have plans to harm yourself, you should be seen urgently by:
- your GP
- a mental health service – your GP can arrange this. You may already have a crisis number to call
- your local Emergency Department – open 24 hours.
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How Is Postpartum Depression Diagnosed
Schedule a visit with your doctor if you suspect you have postpartum depression. Your doctor will talk to you about your symptoms and feelings. He or she will ask you how long you have been feeling depressed. Your doctor may ask you to complete a questionnaire about your depression or order a blood test to check your hormone levels.
How To Handle The Puppy Blues
Here are some things you can do to combat the puppy blues.
1. Adjust your expectations. Dont expect perfection. Expect that things will be hard.
2. Understand whats outside of your control. Can you control your puppys schedule? Yes. Can you form their personality into the exact animal companion youve been dreaming of? No. Before you get a dog, set yourself up to enjoy and appreciate the dog you have, not completely form them into the dog you want.
3. Find a support network. Make sure you have a plan for getting breaks. Have someone who can watch your pup if you need to get away for a few hours, or join a Facebook group for connection with other puppy parents going through the same thing.
4. Get professional help if you need it. By professional help Im not referring to counseling ! Instead, take classes, hire a trainer, or even just go to a drop-in social play session to connect with a dog training professional. Every piece of advice will help you. If nothing else, watch YouTube videos!
5. Crate train your pup. This will help foster a sense of security for your dog and also give you a guilt-free break once in awhile. Remember that dogs arent people. They are den animals, and feel safe and secure in their own small space. It is not cruel to crate. It will also help your potty-training, obedience, and sleep training efforts.
Pretty soon things will get easier and youll have that BFF you always dreamed of.
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