Postpartum depression (PPD) is a mental health disorder that affects some women after they give birth. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), up to 22% of new mothers in the United States have PPD. That is 800,000 women in the United States who will have PPD each year. Those who have this disorder describe feelings of extreme anxiety, sadness, and exhaustion that make it hard for them to take care of themselves or their baby.
What Are the Risk Factors That Cause PPD?
While it is still unclear what causes PPD, there are some risk factors to consider such as:
• Premature birth (baby born before 37 weeks)
• Previous mental health disorders
• No support system
• Hard time getting pregnant
• Birth defects or disabilities
• Young mothers (under 23 years old)
• Complications with the birth
• Loss of a baby
• Multiple birth such as twins or triplets
• Single mother
• Hospitalization of baby
What Are the Symptoms?
There are many symptoms of PPD and it does not affect all women the same way. In fact, some women may feel all or most of these signs while others only experience one or two of the issues. Some of the most common symptoms include:
• Lack of empathy for baby
• Feeling nothing or feeling blah
• Bouts of crying without knowing why
• Anxiety or constant worrying
• Moodiness, restlessness, irritableness
• Aches and pains
• Episodes of extreme anger or rage
• Loss of interest in favorite activities
• Sleeping less or more than usual
• Loss of appetite or eating more
• Withdrawal from others
• No feelings of bonding with your baby
• Feeling like you cannot take care of your baby
Severe cases can include:
• Periods of disorientation or confusion
• Feeling that someone is out to get you
• Thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby
What Causes Postpartum Depression?
So far, experts are not completely certain about what the cause of PPD may be. However, there are some correlations between certain variables that may be more of a cause than a risk factor. Some of these include:
• Cigarette Smoking
First of all, tobacco use is more common in those with depression than in the population and has also been linked to other substance use such as alcohol and illegal drugs, which also has a link to severe depression. A study reported in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association found that cigarette smoking was related to PPD by 1.58%.
• Previous Depression
Those with a history of depression also had a strong link to PPD. In fact, 35% of those with PPD had a previous diagnosis of depression.
• Breastfeeding Status
Women who tried but were unable to breastfeed were 72% more likely to suffer from PPD. In addition, those who do not breastfeed at all are also more commonly affected by PPD.
• Physical Changes
There is a remarkedly rapid decrease in the hormones progesterone and estrogen that can contribute to PPD. These hormones can also cause a rapid decrease in production of hormones from the thyroid gland as well. This causes feelings of tiredness and depression.
• Emotional Changes
When you are not getting enough sleep and you get overwhelmed, this can make it difficult to handle even small issues. Anxiety over being able to care for your baby and a feeling of no control can cause PPD.
Is It a Disease?
The answer to this is still unclear but many experts believe that PPD is a mental health disease caused by different factors such as hormone decreases and lack of sleep as well as a previous history of depression. Some also believe it can be caused by the nutritional depletion that is caused from giving birth, breastfeeding, and not eating correctly. Others insist that some women are predisposed and that it is a matter of an imbalance in brain chemistry.
Why Do Some Women Feel Low After Having a Baby?
It is hard to determine what makes some women so susceptible to PPD while others can have the same risk factors and not have any sign of PPD at all. Some say it may be hereditary and others believe it has something to do with environment. Many experts believe it may be a combination of the two. The problem is, nobody knows for sure so it can happen to anyone at any time.
How Can PPD Be Treated?
There are several treatment plans for PPD. Some of these include taking medication while others suggest psychotherapy. In addition, support groups and exercise are popular treatments.
Antidepressants such as Prozac and Zoloft are known to help with depression and anxiety symptoms. There are many types of antidepressants and antianxiety drugs available to women with PPD. Studies have shown that many antidepressant drugs do not have any harmful effects through breastfeeding.
Being able to talk to a professional about what is going on in your life is important to those with depression. This can be especially true for those with PPD because new mothers can feel cut off from the rest of the world. Online and telepsychology are both excellent for women with PPD because they may have difficulty getting around with a new baby.
Tips to Cope With PPD
Coping with PPD is difficult if you do not seek help. Up to 50% of new mothers with PPD do not seek help for their symptoms. If you have any of the symptoms listed above, or are feeling more sad or depressed than usual after the birth of your baby, it is essential that you talk to someone. Even if you just talk to a friend, talking about what is going on with you is the first step in feeling better.
How Can Family Members Play a Role in Treating Women With PPD?
The best way to help treat women with PPD is to provide support. Some ideas are to help out with the baby, do some of the housework, stay available and in contact so they know you are there for them. There is nothing worse than feeling sad and alone when you are depressed and overwhelmed. Having someone to help you is the best medicine. You should also listen to what they have to say, do not judge or make suggestions. Most of all, call a professional if you believe she is in danger of hurting herself or others.
BetterHelp is an online portal that provides direct-to-consumer access to behavioral health services.
About 21.9 per cent women were diagnosed with depression during the first postpartum year. The most common diagnosis was major depressive disorder combined with anxiety disorder. Read this article to know more.
800,000 women each year (1,200 women everyday) or approximately 20 per cent of all women who give birth will experience some degree of postpartum depression (PPD).
The months following the birth of a baby are ones of great adjustment. Changing body chemistry and lack of quality sleep are amongst leading factors.
While it is still unclear what causes PPD, there are some risk factors to consider, such as premature birth, stress, poverty, previous mental health disorders, lack of support, etc.
There are many symptoms of PPD and it does not affect all women the same way. In fact, some women may feel all or most of these signs while others only experience one or two of the issues. Read this article to know more.
So far, experts are not completely certain about what the cause of PPD may be. Are there correlations between the factors? Find out here.
Breastfeeding is instinctive for both mother and baby. A newborn, when left undisturbed on a mother’s belly, can crawl up to the breast, find the nipple and self-attach
The answer to this is still unclear but many experts believe that PPD is a mental health disease caused by different factors such as hormone decreases and lack of sleep as well as a previous history of depression. Read on for more
It is hard to determine what makes some women so susceptible to PPD while others can have the same risk factors and not have any sign of PPD at all. Some say it may be hereditary and others believe it has something to do with environment. Read on ...
There are several treatment plans for PPD. Read this article to find out if medication is the right option or psychotherapy.
Women who receive a postpartum depression diagnosis may be treated with antidepressant drugs if their symptoms are considered moderate to severe (they are not for example prescribed to women with temporary baby blues). There are two main types of ...
Following childbirth, about 10 to15 percent of all women experience postpartum depression, or PPD, which is depression associated with the aftermath of pregnancy. About 30 to 70 percent experience symptoms for one year or even longer. Most women w...