Postpartum DepressionSometimes depression occurs at an unexpected time. This condition is usually caused by traumatic or negative life events. Unwanted or unexpected change of some kind overwhelm our defenses and we spiral into a major depressive episode.
The symptoms are very similar to clinical depression. These include agitation, anxiety and sadness. Feelings of guilt, lack of motivation and energy, and an overwhelming sense of worthlessness are common. The symptoms can be so severe that some mothers find it difficult to care for or bond with their new baby.
Sometimes postpartum depression is not diagnosed immediately, as it has many symptoms in common with pregnancy. New mothers are often tired, not sleeping well and suffer from lack of energy if you are depressed or not. It is important to determine if other symptoms of depression are present too.
Postpartum depression is also easily confused with what many call the baby blues. This is a short period of low mood that many women experience after childbirth. The difference is that these feelings go away after a couple of weeks. If symptoms worsen or persist for more than a few weeks, a doctor should be consulted.
Postpartum depression is caused by radical changes in hormone levels. During pregnancy, estrogen and progesterone levels are greatly increased. After delivery (as miscarriage and stillbirth), these hormone levels quickly return to normal levels – often in just 24 hours. This rapid decline may trigger depression. In some cases, thyroid hormones fall after delivery as well. Low thyroid hormone levels can cause symptoms of depression. This can be determined with a blood test and treated with medication.
This condition responds well to treatment. Like other types of depression, it is treated with a combination of counseling and antidepressants. If you are breast-feeding, make sure your doctor takes this into account when prescribing. Meanwhile, be sure to get as much of the possible break, a little exercise every day and eat right. The support of family and friends helps too.
It is important to note that postpartum depression is not your fault. The feelings that brings not make you a bad mother. But severe cases can affect your ability to give your child the best possible care. So do not delay seeking treatment. Get the help you need and you quickly return to enjoy life and enjoy your new baby.
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