Postpartum depression is becoming common these days. The birth of a baby is expected to bring joy to everyone especially the mother of the child. Unfortunately, the reverse is the case in some women. Instead of experiencing joy, they feel sad and depressed. They develop baby blues. If this becomes prolonged, it can go a long way to affect their normal daily life. It can also affect their relationship with their babies, husbands, families and the community as a whole.
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What is postpartum depression?
Depressive symptoms in a woman who just recently delivered a baby is called baby blues. Although most women have these symptoms after delivery, it tends to wane off before 2 weeks and it doesn’t affect their normal daily lives. When these depressive symptoms last more than 2 weeks and impinges on the daily living, this is called postpartum depression. Women with this usually feels sad, cries, have problem with eating and sleeping. It is either they eat and sleep too much or too little. They feel bad about themselves. Although no specific cause can be pinpointed, it has been noticed more in women who just had their first child and also in those who has nobody to help.
Postpartum depression should not be taken lightly as this can have negative impact on the child’s development. In severe cases, it can lead to suicide in the women involved. Women with postpartum depression are advised to seek help.
What causes postpartum depression?
The exact cause of postpartum depression is largely unknown. However some researchers linked it to the sudden drop in hormone levels after delivery. They believe this might have contributed to it especially in first time mothers as their body has not been used to this. Unlike during the menstrual cycle in which the hormone levels rises and drops gradually.
Who then is at risk of postpartum depression?
The following categories of women might be at risk of postpartum depression.
- First time mothers. This refers to women who just had their first child.
- Women who had depression in previous pregnancies.
- Women who had depression during pregnancy.
- Women who has any member of her family with depression or postpartum depression.
- Women who does not have support. Those who have nobody to help with their baby and daily activities.
- Women who recently experienced a stressful event like loss of job or loved ones.
- Financial instability is also a risk factors.
- Single mothers or those without partners who can give them support might be at risk.
- Women experiencing violence are also at risk.
- If the pregnancy was unplanned and/ unwanted, it can lead to postpartum depression.
What will you notice in a woman with postpartum depression?
Any woman who recently delivered a baby and has been having some of the symptoms below is likely to be experiencing postpartum depression. The symptoms affect their perception of themselves, relationship with the baby and other individuals. These symptoms include:
- Feeling of sadness and sometimes can be tearful. They have low mood.
- Some women feel anxious.
- They sleep too much or too little.
- They feel bad about themselves
- They feel they are not taking care of the baby as expected.
- They feel tired easily.
- They lose or gain weight.
- They have problems with concentration and making decisions.
- They lose interest in activities they once enjoyed.
- They feel hopeless and worthless.
- They may have thoughts of hurting themselves or the baby.
- They withdraw from families and friends.
What you should do if experiencing postpartum depression
Any woman who has been suffering from postpartum depression must admit her condition and seek help. Talk to someone about it, do not be ashamed. Do not be a super woman, ask for help when you need one. Sometimes caring for the baby and ensuring all the house chores are done can be overwhelming, seek for support.
If you still experience these symptoms despite all these interventions, you might need to see your physician. Postpartum depression is a disease that can be treated with drugs and some forms of therapy. Do not hesitate to see your physician.
Why must you seek help if you have postpartum depression?
The negative impact postpartum depression can have on a family and community can be devastating if help is not sought. Postpartum depression can affect the growth and development of the child. Usually these children lacks adequate care, attention and emotional support.
Postpartum depression can also take its toll on the health of the mother, it can lead to several diseases. In severe cases, the mother can hurt the child or herself.
In lieu of this, seeking help if you have been experiencing postpartum depression or lending a helping hand to someone experiencing this can avail the community as a whole from the devastating occurrences.
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