The birth of a baby can trigger a jumble of powerful emotions, from excitement and joy to fear and anxiety. But it also can end in something you would possibly not expect — depression.
Most new moms experience postpartum "baby blues" after childbirth, which commonly include mood swings, crying spells, anxiety and difficulty sleeping. Baby blues typically begin within the primary two to 3 days after delivery, and should last for up to 2 weeks.
But some new moms experience a more severe, long-lasting sort of depression referred to as postpartum depression. Rarely, an extreme mood disorder called postpartum psychosis also may develop after childbirth.
Postpartum depression isn't a personality flaw or a weakness. Sometimes it's simply a complication of giving birth. If you've got postpartum depression, prompt treatment can assist you manage your symptoms and assist you bond together with your baby.
Signs and symptoms of depression after childbirth vary, and that they can range from mild to severe.
Baby blues symptoms
Signs and symptoms of baby blues — which last only a couple of days to every week or two after your baby is born — may include:
Ø Mood swings
Ø Feeling overwhelmed
Ø Reduced concentration
Ø Appetite problems
Ø Trouble sleeping
Postpartum depression symptoms
Postpartum depression could also be mistaken for baby blues initially — but the signs and symptoms are more intense and last longer, and should eventually interfere together with your ability to care for your baby and handle other daily tasks. Symptoms usually develop within the primary few weeks after parturition, but may begin earlier ? during pregnancy ? or later — up to a year after birth.
Postpartum depression signs and symptoms may include:
Ø Depressed mood or severe mood swings
Ø Excessive crying
Ø Difficulty bonding with your baby
Ø Withdrawing from family and friends
Ø Loss of appetite or eating much more than usual
Ø Inability to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much
Ø Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy
Ø Reduced interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
Ø Intense irritability and anger
Ø Fear that you're not a good mother
Ø Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt or inadequacy
Ø Diminished ability to think clearly, concentrate or make decisions
Ø Severe anxiety and panic attacks
Ø Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
Ø Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
Untreated, postpartum depression may last for several months or longer.
With postpartum psychosis — a rare condition that typically develops within the primary week after delivery — the signs and symptoms are severe.
Signs and symptoms may include:
Ø Confusion and disorientation
Ø Obsessive thoughts about your baby
Ø Hallucinations and delusions
Ø Sleep disturbances
Ø Excessive energy and agitation
Ø Attempts to harm yourself or your baby
Postpartum psychosis may cause life-threatening thoughts or behaviors and requires immediate treatment.
Postpartum depression in new fathers
New fathers can experience postpartum depression, too. They may feel sad or fatigued, be overwhelmed, experience anxiety, or have changes in their usual eating and sleeping patterns ? equivalent symptoms mothers with postpartum depression experience.
Fathers who are young, have a history of depression, experience relationship problems or are struggling financially are most in danger of postpartum depression. Postpartum depression in fathers ? sometimes called paternal postpartum depression ? can have an equivalent negative effect on partner relationships and child development as postpartum depression in mothers can.
There's no single explanation for postpartum depression, but physical and emotional issues may play a task.
Ø Physical changes - After childbirth, a dramatic drop by hormones (estrogen and progesterone) in your body may contribute to postpartum depression. Other hormones produced by your thyroid also may drop sharply — which may leave you feeling tired, sluggish and depressed.
Ø Emotional issues - When you're sleep deprived and overwhelmed, you'll have trouble handling even minor problems. You may worry about your ability to worry for a newborn. You may feel less attractive, struggle together with your sense of identity or feel that you've got lost control over your life. Any of those issues can contribute to postpartum depression.
Any new mom can experience postpartum depression and it can develop after the birth of any child, not just the primary. However, your risk increases if:
Ø You have a history of depression, either during pregnancy or at other times
Ø You have bipolar disorder
Ø You had postpartum depression after a previous pregnancy
Ø You have family members who've had depression or other mood disorders
Ø Your baby has health problems or other special needs
Ø You have twins, triplets or other multiple births
Ø You have difficulty breast-feeding
Ø You're having problems in your relationship with your spouse or significant other
Ø You have a weak support system
Ø You have financial problems
Ø The pregnancy was unplanned or unwanted
If you've got a history of depression — especially postpartum depression — tell your doctor if you're planning on becoming pregnant or as soon as you discover out you're pregnant.
Ø During pregnancy, your doctor can monitor you closely for signs and symptoms of depression. He or she may have you ever complete a depression-screening questionnaire during your pregnancy and after delivery. Sometimes mild depression are often managed with support groups, counseling or other therapies. In other cases, antidepressants could also be recommended — even during pregnancy.
Ø After your baby is born, your doctor may recommend an early postpartum checkup to screen for signs and symptoms of postpartum depression. The earlier it's detected, the earlier treatment can begin. If you've got a history of postpartum depression, your doctor may recommend antidepressant treatment or psychotherapy immediately after delivery.
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