Postpartum depression is a type of clinical depression seen more commonly in women after childbirth. It is associated with mood swings, crying spells and sadness. Prompt detection and treatment helps to get over postpartum depression.
Occasionally it is found in men especially those who are new fathers. Postpartum depression starts within two weeks of delivery and may last for few months to year.
What Causes Postpartum Depression?
- If there is any past history of depression or history of depression during prenatal period then such women are more likely to suffer from postpartum depression.
- Postpartum depression can develop if the pregnancy was unplanned or unwanted.
- Women having problems in marital relationship or strained relation may suffer from depression after delivery.
- Low levels of hormones after delivery may lead to fatigue, mood swings and depression.
- Lack of family support and financial problems may contribute in developing postpartum depression.
- New mother has to make lot of compromise with her needs or activities after delivery due to increased responsibilities. Added workload and lack of sleep may lead to postpartum depression.
- Birth related psychological or physiological trauma may also cause depression.
- Smoking, single marital status, low self esteem can lead to postpartum depression.
- One study shows that postpartum depression is related to depletion of omega 3 fatty acids from mother’s brain to develop brain of fetus or breastfed infant.
Symptoms Of Postpartum Depression
- Patient feels sad, hopeless and helpless.
- Patient shows lack of interest in baby.
- Usually women with postpartum depression are socially withdrawn.
- There may be insomnia or sometimes patient will sleep for long hours.
- Loss of appetite or overeating leading to sudden weight loss or weight gain respectively may be noticed in such females.
- Patient feels guilty for not taking enough care of the baby.
- Decreased libido.
- Patient gets angry at trivial matter and may throw tantrum.
- In some cases patient may have desire to harm baby or herself.
- Patient finds difficulty in bonding with baby.
- Feeling of shame and inadequacy prevails.
- There is inability to concentrate and difficulty in taking decisions
How To Deal With Postpartum Depression?
As soon as you notice the symptoms consult your doctor. If necessary take counseling from psychiatrist or psychologist.
- Setting realistic expectations is the first step to prevent postpartum depression.
- Look for activities that you may enjoy doing with your baby. Take a walk with your baby.
- Talk to your spouse, relatives and friends and seek their help.
- Grandparents can play important role by helping and giving unconditional love to new mother and her baby.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy may help you to react positively to demanding situations.
- Think positively.
- Meditation and relaxation techniques will help to deal with postpartum depression.
- Avoid being alone. Join support group of new mothers where you can discuss your problems and may find good solution for the same.
- If necessary doctor may prescribe hormone therapy and antidepressants.
- Proper nutrition plays important role in preventing postpartum depression. Food items rich in omega 3 fatty acids such as fish, meat and flax seed should be included in the diet. B vitamins especially riboflavin helps to prevent postpartum depression. Take vitamin supplements after consulting your doctor.