Understanding and Recognizing Postpartum Depression
Post Partum Depression or PPD is a term used to describe a syndrome or a cluster of symptoms that can occur following the birth of a baby. Post Partum Depression encompasses a wide and varied range of psychological and physical symptoms. Surprisingly as many as 10% of new mothers suffer from mild to more severe forms of this disorder.
Symptoms can range from mild, temporary reactions that include early feelings of tearfulness, exhaustion and overwhelm. These reactions are more common and generally occur and abate within the first two weeks after birth and are commonly referred to as the ‘Baby Blues’. This condition affects between 50-75% of new moms.
Sometimes symptoms continue for an extended period of time or become more unmanageable.
New mothers can feel isolated and somewhat reluctant to let others know that they might be having difficulties.
New mothers suffering from PPD may experience one or more of the following symptoms in varying degrees from mild to more severe:
- Feelings of sadness or depression that lasts most or all of the day
- Difficulties concentrating
- Lack of enthusiasm
- Self-doubt, fears that you might be failing as a mother
- Excessive worry
- Exhaustion, but with difficulty sleeping
- Thoughts of harming of the baby or yourself
Many factors contribute to post partum difficulties including; hormonal and body changes, family and relationship stressors, sleep deprivation, inadequate support/help, and a previous history of anxiety or depression.
COPING WITH POST PARTUM DEPRESSION
Even though most new parents have spent a good deal of time and effort preparing both psychologically and physically for the birth of their baby, there can be unanticipated feelings, reactions and necessary accommodations that can challenge the new adjustment.
- Recognize that you are having difficulty
- Educate yourself about postpartum depression
- Find time to rest
- Pay attention to your diet, eat healthy, nutritious food
- Exercise/meditate or find some time just for you
- Ask for help from family and friends
- Join a motherâs support group
- Discuss your concerns with your ob/gyn or pediatrician
- Be willing to seek and accept professional help if the symptoms persist or worsen.