Monday, April 15, 2024

Does Postpartum Depression Get Worse With Each Pregnancy

How To Get Relief

Postpartum Depression after Pregnancy

You cant power through PPD on your own you need medical and mental health treatment. Receiving it quickly means youll be able to continue loving and caring for your baby to the best of your ability.

There are several options for PPD treatment, and you may need to utilize more than one strategy. There are also lifestyle changes that may make recovery go faster. Dont stop until you find a combination of treatments that works for you. Relief from PPD is possible with the right interventions.

  • Antidepressants. Your provider may prescribe a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor to treat your depression. There are several SSRIs available. Your doctor will work with you to find one that best treats your symptoms with the fewest side effects. Many SSRIs are compatible with breastfeeding, but make sure your provider knows if youre nursing so they can choose the appropriate medication and dosage.
  • Counseling.Cognitive behavioral therapy is a frontline strategy for treating depression, including symptoms of PPD. If you need help locating a provider in your area, you can search for one here.
  • Group therapy. It may be helpful for you to share your experiences with other parents who have had PPD. Finding a support group, either in person or online, can be a valuable lifeline. To locate a PPD support group in your area, try searching by state here.

Where To Get Help

Dont be afraid to reach out if you or someone you know needs help. Learning all you can about mental health is an important first step.

Reach out to your health insurance, primary care doctor, or state/country mental health authority for more resources.

Contact the PPSC SupportLine to find out what services and supports are available in your community.

If you or someone you know needs help now, you should immediately call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or call 911.


Wondering where to turn for help? Doing a self-assessment for depression, anxiety, or OCD can help.


Practical and emotional support are important in protecting against perinatal mental health disorders. Take this survey to see how your social support system measures up.

If you are having suicidal thoughts or are concerned about someone else who may be suicidal, please call the Buckelew Suicide Prevention Hotline:

Can A Lack Of Sleep Cause Postpartum Depression

While there are many factors at play, it does appear that sleep deprivation can exacerbate symptoms of postpartum depression. This is true for both parents, with research suggesting that both the mothers and the fathers of young babies are more likely to have depressive symptoms if the mother sleeps poorly. Sleep deprivation is also linked to suicidal ideation in women with postpartum depression.

The relationship between sleep deprivation and postpartum depression is likely bidirectional, with depression often causing sleep problems as well. Furthermore, both of these conditions often have roots in similar issues, such as stress, anxiety, and changing hormone levels.

After pregnancy, women experience a sudden drop in levels of estrogen, progesterone, and thyroid hormones. This change affects the sleep cycle and lays the groundwork for depression. Over time, if sleep doesnt improve, this raises the likelihood of developing postpartum depression.

Unfortunately, sleeping well is easier said than done when you are caring for a newborn. You may wake up multiple times during the night to breastfeed, change a diaper, or check on your fussing baby. Even when the baby is sleeping well, racing thoughts and to-do lists may keep you up at night. In short, sleep problems during early motherhood may be due to a lack of sleep, but also stem from fragmented sleep, poor-quality sleep, and difficulty falling asleep.

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When You Should Contact A Doctor

If youre not feeling better 2 weeks postpartum, get in touch with your doctor. While youll be screened for PPD at your 6-week postpartum appointment, you dont have to wait that long. In fact, doing so can make it take longer for your PPD to get better.

After 2 weeks, if youre still experiencing intense feelings, its probably not the baby blues. In some ways, thats good news: It means you can do something about the way you feel. You dont have to wait it out.

When you do ask for help, be as honest as possible. We know its difficult to talk about the negative emotions associated with new parenthood, and it can be scary to reveal just how much youre struggling. However, the more open you are about your PPD, the better and faster your provider will be able to help you.

How To Cope With Postpartum Blues

New Mothers Percentage the Postpartum Signs They Were not Anticipating ...

Just because postpartum blues are normal and symptoms are generally mild and temporary doesnt mean that its easy to endure. Heres how to cope if your postpartum blues are bringing you down:

  • Assure yourself that what you are feeling is normal and has been experienced by almost all new mommies.
  • Talk about your feelings with a trusted loved one.
  • Join a new moms support group or connect online with other moms.
  • Remember that there is no shame in asking for help with housework and meal prep.
  • Get outside at least once a day, even if all you do is walk around the block a few times.
  • Make sleep a priority in whatever way you can, whether that means sleeping when the baby sleeps or having your partner, family member, or other helper hold your baby for an hour while you doze on the couch.
  • Cut yourself a lot of slack when it comes to chores and general upkeep of your house you just had a baby and you cant expect to do it all.
  • Limit visitors or other stressful situations.
  • Try to eat regularly make sure you are getting adequate protein and are eating easily digestible foods.

Read Also: Can Clinical Depression Be Genetic

How Is Postpartum Psychosis Treated

Several medications are used to treat psychosis. They may be used alone or in combination and include:

  • mood stabilizers
  • antidepressants
  • antipsychotics

These medications can help control your symptoms and keep you stabilized. If they dont, another option is electroconvulsive therapy . ECT uses electrical currents to trigger chemical changes in the brain. Its usually well-tolerated and can be effective in treating postpartum psychosis.

Once youre stabilized, your doctors may recommend that you consult with a therapist who can help you work through your feelings.

Treatment should continue even after youve been discharged from the hospital. As you recover, your medications may need some adjusting.

If you also have bipolar or another mental health disorder, youll need to continue to follow your treatment plan for that health issue as well.

Physical Causes Of Postpartum Depression

It is most commonly believed that postpartum depression stems from the drastic hormonal changes that take place during and after childbirth. Decreased estrogen and progesterone levels place the body into a sudden hormonal shift. This is thought to trigger emotional repercussions.

However, many non-depressed women experience the same drop in hormones and have the same estrogen levels as women who do have PPD.

Sleep deprivation may also play a large role in causing postpartum depression. Following childbirth, women often do not get enough sleep due to their new responsibilities caring for their child. A lack of sleep can greatly impact how a woman functions, feels and handles situations. Without proper and consistent sleep, women may start to exhibit signs of postpartum depression.

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Depression In New Mothers

Having a baby is stressfulno matter how much youve looked forward to it or how much you love your child. Considering the sleep deprivation, new responsibilities, and lack of time for yourself, its no surprise that a lot of new moms feel like theyre on an emotional rollercoaster.

In fact, mild depression and mood swings are so common in new mothers that it has its own name: the baby blues.

Miscarriage And Clinical Depression

Is it normal to feel depressed during the 3rd trimester of pregnancy?

As for whether miscarriage grief can become postpartum depression, it is definitely possible that you could be clinically depressed in the aftermath of your miscarriage. The line between grief and depression that requires treatment can be hard to distinguish sometimes.

Both grief and depression have nearly identical symptoms. But here’s the keyyour feelings are interfering with your ability to go about your daily routines for more than a few weeks after your miscarriage, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor to see if you might benefit from treatment for depression. Even if you’re just wondering whether you might need help, let your doctor know so you can discuss it.

Recommended Reading: How Can You Measure Depression

Antidepressant Side Effects And Considerations

All antidepressants can cause side effects, such as:

  • dry mouth
  • anxiety
  • tremors

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.

Grieving After A Miscarriage

It is normal to feel grief, even intense grief, after a miscarriageno matter how early in your pregnancy the miscarriage occurs. Once you discover that you’re pregnant, your entire world changes.

Physically, you may experience early pregnancy symptoms such as nausea, tender breasts, fatigue, and increased urination. And emotionally, you likely start to think aboutand get excited abouthow wonderful your life is about to become with a brand new, smiling, gurgling baby.

Perhaps you dream about whether the baby will be a boy or girl, who he or she will look like, and what his or her personality will be. Maybe you even envision moving to a suburb and buying a home or changing your professional life to accommodate the new child.

So if you suddenly lose a pregnancy, you don’t just lose the fetusyou also lose that entire future that you had been planning in your head for days, weeks, or months. It’s understandable if you feel shaken and overwhelmed when something like that happens.

Read Also: Causes Of Depression Scholarly Articles

Postpartum Depression Likely To Recur

Mood disorder seen in 1 in 200 new moms with no psychiatric history

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Sept. 26, 2017 — Women who have suffered from postpartum depression are more likely to go through it again after subsequent pregnancies, a new Danish study shows.

Postpartum depression occurs 27 to 46 times more frequently during subsequent pregnancies for mothers who experienced it after their first birth, researchers report.

These results show that women who have had postpartum depression in the past should prepare themselves if they get pregnant again, said lead researcher Marie-Louise Rasmussen, an epidemiologist with Statens Serum Institut in Copenhagen.

Antidepressants or psychotherapy could help cushion the blow or even head off postpartum depression, Rasmussen said.

“In theory, psychotherapy is preferred but not always sufficient and not always available. Often, the general practitioner has to add antidepressant medication,” Rasmussen said. “Social support from the spouse and surroundings is also very important.”

In most cases, women can expect to shake off their postpartum depression within a year, the researchers found.

“Based on this data, we would think for most women who receive treatment, their depression should be treated and resolved in six months or less,” said Dr. James Murrough. He’s director of the mood and anxiety disorders program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City.

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PLOS Medicine

How Is Postpartum Depression Different From The Baby Blues

Postpartum Anxiety or Normal New Mom Fears?

The baby blues is a term used to describe the feelings of worry, unhappiness, and fatigue that many women experience after having a baby. Babies require a lot of care, so its normal for mothers to be worried about, or tired from, providing that care. Baby blues, which affect up to 80 percent of mothers, includes feelings that are somewhat mild, last a week or two, and go away on their own.

With postpartum depression, feelings of sadness and anxiety can be extreme and might interfere with a womans ability to care for herself or her family. Because of the severity of the symptoms, postpartum depression usually requires treatment. The condition, which occurs in nearly 25 percent of expectant and new mothers, may begin before or any time after childbirth, but commonly begins between a week and a month after delivery.

Recommended Reading: How To Get Depression To Go Away

I Didnt Think It Could Be Ppd Because I Didnt Have It With My First Two Kids

About two days after the birth of my third son, I knew something was wrong. It felt like a heavy weighted blanket. I was crying all the time. I would watch my baby sleep, and I was so overwhelmed with love for him but felt so sad. Sad for all of the pain he would endure throughout his life, sad because I couldnt protect him, sad because I felt crazy and that he had a crazy mom. I was worried that he wouldnt like me.

At first, I didnt think it could be PPD, because I didnt have it with my first two kids 12 and eight years prior. I hid it from my partner well, being home alone all day. But he began growing concerned when I would have a panic attack whenever he touched me. I couldnt even sleep in the same bed with him. About two days later within a week of giving birth I asked him to call my midwife because I wouldnt be able to talk on the phone without crying. She put me on an antidepressant, which helped within days. I continued taking the medication for several years.

I want other moms to know that PPD is real, and you are not crazy. Just because someone doesnt understand what youre going through doesnt mean that it doesnt hurt. Communicate with your health care provider sooner than later there is hope.

Jennifer Snyder, professional organizer, Waco, TX

Ppd Is A Condition That Results From A Combination Of Biological Hormonal Environmental And Psychological Factors It Is Most Often Influenced By A Number Of Risk Factors Some Of Which May Include:

  • Lack of social support, environmental stressors

  • Perceived loss of control

Its important to note that PPD can strike women with no risk factors, too. It is not fully understood why it happens to some women and not to others, but we do know exactly what to do to treat it. For each woman with PPD, the combination of factors that cause it is unique. In addition, depression can affect any woman regardless of age, race, ethnicity, or economic status.

Recommended Reading: Does Latuda Work For Depression

What Causes Depression In Perinatal Women

Prenatal or postpartum depression does not have a single cause, but likely results from a combination of physical and emotional factors. Depression does not occur because of something a mother does or does not do.

After childbirth, the levels of hormones in a womans body quickly drop. This leads to chemical changes in her brain that may trigger mood swings. In addition, many mothers are unable to get the rest they need to fully recover from giving birth. Constant sleep deprivation can lead to physical discomfort and exhaustion, which can contribute to the symptoms of postpartum depression.

How To Help Your Wife Or Partner

Kidsburgh: Postpartum Depression

Encourage her to talk about her feelings. Listen to her without judging or offering solutions. Instead of trying to fix things, simply be there for her to lean on.

Offer help around the house. Chip in with the housework and childcare responsibilities. Dont wait for her to ask!

Make sure she takes time for herself. Rest and relaxation are important. Encourage her to take breaks, hire a babysitter, or schedule some date nights.

Be patient if shes not ready for sex. Depression affects sex drive, so it may be a while before shes in the mood. Offer her physical affection, but dont push if shes not up for sex.

Go for a walk with her. Getting exercise can make a big dent in depression, but its hard to get motivated when youre feeling low. Help her by making walks a daily ritual for the two of you.

Anna Glezer, M.D. is a Harvard-trained clinician with joint appointments in the reproductive psychiatry and OB/GYN departments at UCSF Medical Center. She is the founder of Mind Body Pregnancy.

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Can Ppd Affect Your Baby

Yes. PPD can make it hard for you to care for yourself and your baby. This is why its important to treat PPD as soon as possible. If PPD is untreated:

  • You may skip your postpartum checkups and not follow instructions from your health care provider.
  • You may find it hard to bond with your baby.
  • Your baby may not breastfeed long. PPD may make it hard for you and your baby to get used to breastfeeding. Breast milk is the best food for your baby through the first year of life.
  • Your baby may not get medical care he needs. PPD may make it hard for you to take care of your baby if shes sick. You may not see health problems in your baby that need quick attention and care. It may be hard for you to get your baby regular well-baby care, like vaccinations. Vaccinations help protect your baby from harmful infections.
  • Your baby may have learning, behavior and development problems and mental health conditions later in life.

Getting treatment for PPD can help you feel better and be able to care for your baby. If you think you have PPD, tell your provider.

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