Risk Factors For Long Term Depression
Researchers have also identified some risk factors for long term postpartum depression, noting that it is often a continuation of preexisting depression, rather than a new set of symptoms that starts at delivery.
Other factors that appeared to play a role include:
- a poor relationship with a partner
- a history of sexual abuse
Some studies suggested that depression was more likely to affect women who are young, on a low income, or from a minority background, but the data were less consistent for these findings.
Ill health in the child did not seem to increase the risk of long term postpartum depression.
The researchers urged doctors to be ready to spot the signs that postpartum depression is becoming chronic and to take into account the wider factors that may contribute to depression.
They also called for further studies on the causes of postpartum depression and its likely duration.
What Are Some Signs
Postpartum depression can start during pregnancy. But it usually begins one week to one month after delivery. In some women, it may begin up to six weeks or three months after delivery.
The main symptoms are ongoing sadness, inability to enjoy otherwise happy or rewarding experiences, distressing anxiety or irritability, and constantly thinking about your baby’s well-being. You may also try to isolate yourself.
Other symptoms include changes in eating habits, headaches, stomach problems, and muscle pain.
Why Should You Do Anything About Postnatal Depression
If you do nothing about the PND , you are likely to get better anyway in 3-6 months. Some people take longer. There are a number of reasons to ask for help:
- To help yourself recover quickly. You need not feel like this. It is not a sign of weakness to admit that you are depressed.
- To help your partner or family. If you are depressed, it can cause problems in your relationships, your job and life in general.
- To help your child . If you are depressed, your relationship with your baby may not be as good as it could be. You may not give as much attention to your baby as you would like to. As a result, your baby’s development may not be as quick as it should be. There is evidence to suggest that developmental problems that occur in the baby because of a mother’s depression may persist into adolescence.
Many women are able to hide their PND. They care for their baby perfectly well and appear fine to those around them. However, they suffer the condition as an internal misery. Do seek help if you are like this.
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Tip : Lean On Others For Help And Support
Human beings are social. Positive social contact relieves stress faster and more efficiently than any other means of stress reduction. Historically and from an evolutionary perspective, new mothers received help from those around them when caring for themselves and their infants after childbirth. In todays world, new mothers often find themselves alone, exhausted and lonely for supportive adult contact. Here are some ideas for connecting to others:
Make your relationships a priority. When youre feeling depressed and vulnerable, its more important than ever to stay connected to family and friendseven if youd rather be alone. Isolating yourself will only make your situation feel even bleaker, so make your adult relationships a priority. Let your loved ones know what you need and how youd like to be supported.
Dont keep your feelings to yourself. In addition to the practical help your friends and family can provide, they can also serve as a much-needed emotional outlet. Share what youre experiencingthe good, the bad, and the uglywith at least one other person, preferably face to face. It doesnt matter who you talk to, so long as that person is willing to listen without judgment and offer reassurance and support.
Need to talk to someone?
What Should I Do If I Have Symptoms Of Postpartum Depression
- Your baby blues dont go away after 2 weeks
- Symptoms of depression get more and more intense
- Symptoms of depression begin within 1 year of delivery and last more than 2 weeks
- It is difficult to work or get things done at home
- You cannot care for yourself or your baby
- You have thoughts about hurting yourself or your baby
Ask your partner or a loved one to call for you if necessary. Your doctor, nurse, or midwife can ask you questions to test for depression. They can also refer you to a mental health professional for help and treatment.
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How To Heal From Postpartum Depression
A lot of women suffer from postpartum depression, new mothers especially. Postpartum depression occurs after childbirth due to several emotional and physical changes a womans body undergoes.
You need to reach out for help if youre feeling empty, emotionless, or unhappy for more than two weeks throughout or after your pregnancy. For example, you might have postpartum depression if you dont feel like you love or care for your baby.
This article will serve as a guide to every mother new or old, experiencing some sort of changes after childbirth.
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Where To Find Support For Postpartum Depression
First, consult with your OB-GYN to address your physical symptoms. If youre interested, your doctor can refer you to a therapist or other local resources. Your local hospital is another good place to get referrals.
You might feel more comfortable reaching out to others whove been through the same thing. They understand what youre feeling and can offer nonjudgmental support. Consider joining a group for new mothers. Some of them may also be living with depression, anxiety, or postpartum depression.
These organizations can help guide you to the appropriate resources:
- Postpartum Depression Support Groups in the U.S. and Canada: This is a comprehensive list of support groups around the United States and Canada.
- Postpartum Education for Parents at 805-564-3888: Trained volunteers answer the warmline 24/7 to provide support.
- Postpartum Progress: This organization has information and support for pregnant women and new moms who have postpartum depression and anxiety.
- Postpartum Support International at 800-944-4PPD : This resource offers education, online support, and information about local resources.
If you dont like one support system, its okay to try another. Keep trying until you find the help you need.
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Final Thoughts About Postpartum Depression
Now that you have these tools in on how to help treat postpartum depression you can slowly start to heal and cope with your depression.
Remember to always talk with your doctor and tell them sooner rather than later about how you are feeling. You can start journaling your thoughts if speaking out loud is to difficult. You can also start exercising, take the time to go outside, start on vitamins, and take care of yourself by talking about it.
When Its Postpartum Depression
- You feel hopeless, sad, worthless, or alone all the time, and you cry often.
- You donât feel like youâre doing a good job as a new mom.
- Youâre not bonding with your baby.
- You canât eat, sleep, or take care of your baby because of your overwhelming despair.
- You could have anxiety and panic attacks.
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Charities And Support Groups
There are a number of national support groups that you can contact for advice.
You can also use them to attend events with other parents affected by postnatal depression.
These groups include:
- Association for Post Natal Illness helpline on 020 7386 0868 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pre and Postnatal Depression Advice and Support helpline on 0843 28 98 401
- NCT helpline on 0300 330 0700
- Mind, the mental health charity infoline on 0300 123 3393 or email email@example.com
You can also search for local support groups and find details of national telephone or email support lines on the Maternal Mental Health Alliance website.
How To Prevent Postpartum Depression
It is important to understand that this is a broad term for the wide range of emotions a woman can experience after having a baby. Postpartum mood disorders are normally divided into three subcategories that include baby blues, postpartum depression , and postpartum psychosis . In recent years, new categories have been added to the group of postpartum mood disorders, including postpartum anxiety , postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder and postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder . These subgroups have a variety of symptoms and vary in severity and intensity.
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How Is Postpartum Psychosis Treated
Several medications are used to treat psychosis. They may be used alone or in combination and include:
- mood stabilizers
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.
What Can *really* Happen For New Moms
Any new mom who takes up the job of being a mom to her child will still have lots of challenges, doubts, phases of difficulty, and fears.
In fact, in a way, this kind of new mom might have more challenges exactly because she wants to be truly open and honest about who she is and what shes feeling.
The difference is how new moms in these situations accept, understand, and cope with this harsh reality.
Any new mom who takes up the job of being a mom to her child will still have lots of challenges, doubts, phases of difficulty, and fears.
Do you struggle to cope with thoughts like I no longer want the baby?
Or are you calm, confident, and collected about the challenges youre facing now and the challenges youll face in the future?
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How Is It Diagnosed
If you are worried you might have postpartum depression, make sure to see a health care provider. They can help you determine if it’s postpartum depression or something else.
They may ask you questions about your sadness, worry, and anxiety. They will also do blood tests to find out if another disorder, such as a thyroid disease, may be causing your depression.
Strategies For Coping With Postpartum Depression
Make healthy lifestyle choices. Although it is definitely a challenge to focus on yourself with a new baby, its important for people who have postpartum depression to take time to do things like eating healthy meals, exercising, getting enough sleep, and avoiding alcohol, which can exacerbate mood swings.
Practice self-care. Enlist a partner, friend, or other family member to watch the baby or hire a sitter, then get out of the house and do something for yourself.
Set realistic expectations. Treatment can help, but it may take some time before you feel like yourself again. In the meantime, dont feel pressured to check off everything on your to-do list.
Say yes to caregiving help. Take people up on their offers to help. Your friends and family members can help around the house, watch the baby so you can sleep, run errands, or be there to listen when you need to talk.
Avoid isolation. Talk with your partner, friends, or family about how youre feeling. You may want to join a support group with other mothers whove experienced postpartum depression and can share experiences and coping skills.
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What Is Severe Postpartum Depression
Without treatment, postpartum depression can get progressively worse. Its most dangerous when it leads to thoughts of harming yourself or others. Once these thoughts begin to occur, medical intervention is necessary.
Signs of severe postpartum depression include:
- hallucinations, or seeing, hearing, smelling, or feeling things that arent really there
- delusions, or having irrational beliefs, placing too much importance on insignificant things, or feeling persecuted
- disorientation, confusion, and talking nonsense
- strange or erratic behavior
- suicidal thoughts or attempted suicide
- thoughts of harming your baby
These are all signs that you need emergency medical treatment. Hospitalization may be necessary. Severe postpartum depression may be life-threatening, but it can be treated successfully.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression symptoms may differ from person to person and can range from mild to moderate to severe.
Many common symptoms of PPD are similar to other types of depression:5
- Feeling down or depressed for most of the day for several weeks or longer
- Feeling distant and withdrawn from family and friends
- A loss of interest in activities
- Changes in eating and sleeping habits
- Feeling tired most of the day
- Feeling angry or irritable
- Having feelings of anxiety, worry, panic attacks, or racing thoughts
Postpartum depression may also cause:6
- Crying more often than usual
- Feelings of anger
- Feeling numb or disconnected from the baby
- Worry that you will hurt the baby
- Feeling guilty about not being a good mom or doubting your ability to care for the baby
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Natural Ways To Heal Postpartum Depression: Food Herbs Social Supports And More
There are a lot of nods to postpartum depression and anxiety out there, and not a lot of substantial exploration of the reasons why so, so many parents experience it. Were going to explore that question, set the record straight about what “kind” of parents experience it, and offer 9 natural, holistic ways to prevent and address postpartum depression.
What’s The Difference Between Postpartum Depression And The Baby Blues
Though “postpartum depression” and “the baby blues” are sometimes used interchangeably, theyre two distinct conditions:
- The baby blues are very common, experienced by as many as an estimated 80 percent of new moms. After giving birth, women with the baby blues feel weepy, irritable, exhausted and anxious, and also have trouble sleeping. The baby blues usually begin within a few days postpartum and fade within two weeks.
- Postpartum depression symptoms are often similar to those of the baby blues which is why many women have trouble determining which one theyre experiencing. But while the baby blues last for only a short time and symptoms tend to be mild, postpartum depression symptoms can begin anytime within the first year after birth from right after birth to when you get your first period postpartum or wean your baby off breastfeeding. Postpartum depression symptoms tend to be both more pronounced and more enduring, lasting weeks, months or even a year or longer.
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Check Yourself For Diastasis Recti
This is a sneaky one. So many moms have trouble with their abdominal muscles after having their baby and it goes undiagnosed for years. I personally knew there was something with my stomach but when I asked both my midwife and an OB-gyn neither one had any information for me.
After tons of research, I finally found out it had a name. Diastasis Recti. If I had known I had it those first few weeks postpartum I could have saved myself a lot of problems.
The thing with diastasis recti is that if your not careful, even simple movements like sitting up from bed can make your muscles heal wrong and affect your core strength.
Heres a simple test you can do to see if you have diastasis recti.
If you do have diastasis recti, make sure to avoid exercises and movements that could potentially make it worse. This includes any type of sit-up movements. So instead of sitting up to get out of bed you want to roll to your side into the sitting position.
Sit-ups can create more pressure and widen the gap.
Instead, make a to-do list of exercises you can do to heal your gap. There are even specialty programs that are dedicated to helping new moms fix diastasis recti.
Postpartum Depression By The Numbers
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that up to 20% of new mothers experience one or more symptoms of postpartum depression, that number may be higher or lower based on where you live, your age, your risk factors, and your race/ethnicity.6
In some states, as many as one in five women experience PPD. You can view your states prevalence using the CDCs Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System .
- Asian women
- Women younger than 19 years old
What may be even more of a surprise is that men can develop postpartum depression, too . According to a study of several thousand people in the UK, and published in JAMA Pediatrics, one study, an estimated 4% of fathers experience depression in the first year after their child is born. Fathers who are young or have a history of depression may be more at risk. Both men and women need treatment to alleviate depression in the postpartum period, and the potential treatments are similar for both genders.
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Keep Taking Your Prenatal
You may be tempted to skip out on your prenatal vitamin after your baby is born, but dont.
Your body is even more depleted now than it was before you got pregnant. Your body has been using a lot of its nutrition to build and grow your baby.
Make sure that you have a high-quality prenatal vitamin. Now is not the time to skimp and get the cheapest brand.
Find a trusted brand that makes their vitamins from whole foods such as the baby and me brand.
The one precaution to keep in mind when taking a prenatal vitamin, its not a substitute for good nutrition.
So make sure you arent taking your prenatal thinking its a fix all pill.