The birth of a baby is an important event in a woman’s life. It makes a woman feel a bouquet of emotions ranging from happiness, fear, anxiety, excitement and it might make a woman feel something which she can never expect – Depression!
Depression experienced immediately or within a year after childbirth is termed as Postpartum or Postnatal Depression. It is estimated that 1 in 10 women develops this problem in their immediate post-delivery time.
What is Postpartum Depression? Postpartum or Postnatal depression is a very common mood disorder that affects women after childbirth. This depression makes their life difficult and interferes with their daily routine activities.
What causes Postpartum Depression? No single cause is responsible for postpartum depression. It is combination of physical, emotional factors that causes depression. Immediately after delivery there is drop of hormones in woman’s body, which leads to mood swings. Sleep deprivation, continuous work and caring of the baby add to physical discomfort and mental stress and thus results in postpartum depression.
What are the symptoms of Postpartum Depression? It usually involves a group of symptoms as listed under and even varies from person to person.
Common symptoms include:
- Persistent feeling of sadness or hopelessness
- Crying frequently and for no apparent reason
- Difficulty bonding with the baby
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
- Reduced pleasure in activities which were enjoyable earlier
- Inability to sleep
- Feeling moody, irritable, restless
- Decreased appetite
- Trying to be alone
- Thoughts of self-harm or harming the baby
- Problems in concentration and decision making
What are the risk factors of Postpartum Depression? It is more commonly seen in women with following factors –
- Previous history of depression
- History of mood or mental disorders
- Stress involved in taking care of newborn
- Lack of family support
- Very young mother
- Financial problems, etc.
When to see a Doctor – Though the symptoms regress on its own, make sure to consult a doctor when –
- Symptoms don’t reduce after 2 weeks
- Symptoms worsening everyday
- Making it tough to take care of the baby
- Suicidal thoughts
- Thoughts of harming baby
Tips to cope with Postpartum Depression – Here are a few tips that might help you to tackle with depression –
- Talk openly and your heart out with your partner and people you trust and who support you
- Be in contact and share your experience with other moms
- Sleep adequately and sleep whenever your baby sleeps
- Engage in physical activities once your doctor agrees
- Concentrate only on important tasks
- Avoid staying alone
- Make time for yourself
- Try to spend more time with your baby
Childbirth is an important stage of life. A newborn brings in new hopes for your life, it is in your hands to enjoy the precious moments and not get panicked and lose these special hours.