- Post-partum depression is very common among mothers and can be seen more in Asian women
- Symptoms include frequent mood swings, abnormal sleeping, irritation and getting angry easily
- If left untreated it can progress into Post-partum Psychosis
- It can also harm the mental health of the father and child
It is always difficult to think that you are going through a stage of depression. Many just ignore it in the hectic lifestyle. Many cover it up and continue to do the household while some end the days crying.
It is at that moment when your relationship with the partner or family gets worse, then you or your partner realizes there is a problem. In many family issues, especially after the first child, the culprit is postpartum depression (PPD).
Hormonal actions throughout pregnancy may trigger a muddle of emotions from fear, anxiety to happiness and excitement. Sometimes, it gets intense with frequent mood swings, irritation and getting angry without reasons.
Similarly, post-partum baby blues occur in mothers. But it begins after two or three days of the child birth and may stay maximum for three weeks. But, PPD usually lasts longer, and the emotions or response would be severe.
Major Symptoms of PPD
The postpartum depression can affect the baby care and daily activities of the mother. It can begin within two weeks of the childbirth or even after six months.
1. Depressed mood or frequent mood swings
2. Too much of crying and not for any reason
3. Withdrawing from family and friends
4. Unusual eating habit; either too much or loss of appetite
5. Abnormal sleeping; too much of sleeping or broken sleeping
6. Intense irritability or anger
7. Feeling worthlessness, guilt or of no value
8. Difficult to make decisions or confused
9. Thoughts of harming yourself or suicides
If left untreated, postpartum depression can progress to Postpartum Psychosis.
Symptoms of Postpartum Psychosis are:
1. Hallucinations or illusions
2. Always thinking about the baby or obsessive about baby
3. Attempts to harm yourself
4. Sleep disturbances
5. Paranoia (unjustified suspicion and mistrust of others)
Basically, the physical changes occurred after the child birth can be the major cause for the depression. Drop in hormones like progesterone and estrogen in the mother’s body may contribute to postpartum depression.
It can also be due to the emotional issues like anxiety about your ability to care for the baby. From the thoughts about your success as a mother to the decreasing confidence in your physical appearance causes depression in new mothers. Sleep deprivation along with anxieties worsen the condition.
Risk Factors of PPD are:
1. Unwanted or unplanned pregnancy
2. Depression during pregnancy or earlier
3. Postpartum depression after previous pregnancy
4. Complications in pregnancy
5. Depression or any mood stability problems in any of the family members
6. Lack of support system, be it family or spouse
7. Existence of Bipolar disorder
If the symptoms persist for longer than two or three weeks, it is advisable to consult a doctor. Based on the severity of depression, the doctor may recommend psychotherapy or antidepressants.
Meanwhile, practicing simple health care steps at home can also reduce the depression symptoms in the mother.
1. Be practical
Don’t stress yourself to become the perfect mother or the perfect home maker. Do things that you can and leave the rest without guilt.
2. Avoid isolation
Though you may have a bulk of emotions and complexes, don’t isolate yourself. Interact with your friends and find time for your family.
3. Get some me-time
Take some time every day for yourself. Indulge in hobbies or activities that refresh you. Take a nap or go out to dinner with your partner.
4. Share your emotions
Emotions are complicated, but sharing them with someone relieves you. Share what you feel, your anxieties to your partner or a close friend.
5. Stay healthy
Always follow your workout routine and eat healthy. It is important to take enough rest and get proper sleep.
6. Connect with peer moms
Try to participate in group activities of mothers. It helps in sharing your experiences and also getting to know others.
Post-partum depression can also affect the partner. If the mother gets depressed, it increases the chances of depression in the father. Mom’s depression and depressive behavior to the baby may inadvertently develop emotional or mental problems in children. A child of the depressed mother can suffer from Attention Deficit Hyper Active Syndrome (ADHD).
PPD can exist from mild to severe symptoms. But, researches show that many prefer not to take medications like anti-depressant as they are breastfeeding and don’t want to expose the young ones to medications so early.
Studies reveal that postpartum depression rates are higher in Asian women than in other parts of the world. In India, the prevalence rate varies from 16 to 23 percent with depression persisting after six months of the child birth in about 11 to 14 percent of women.
Post Partum Psychosis
It is a severe form of mental illness which starts suddenly in the days or weeks after the child birth. Symptoms include fear, restlessness, confusion, hallucinations, delusion, and disorientation. Consultation with a psychiatrist is inevitable for the sustenance of lives of both the mother and the baby.