How to Help with Postpartum Depression
While it’s normal for most to feel a mixture of elation and anxiety in the postpartum period, some mothers can experience a more severe end of the spectrum in the form of postpartum depression.
What is postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression is a mental health disorder characterized by physical and emotional changes women may experience soon after birth during the postpartum period. According to the DSM-5, it’s diagnosed as postpartum depression after 4 weeks of delivery.
It may be described as having a low mood, feelings of guilt, ideation of self-harm, lack of interest in activities pertaining to the baby, excessive crying, lack of appetite, self-neglect, etc. Some mothers may feel more of these symptoms while others may feel only a few.
What are some causes of postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression is caused by a mixture of chemical and emotional changes a woman experiences after birth. The chemical change is usually associated with a drop in hormones right after delivery to pre-pregnancy levels.
This time period is also an emotionally challenging time for mothers which can often overwhelm them. There is pressure to do well as a mother while undergoing a myriad of physical changes.
This is accompanied by so many different changes a woman may experience in her routine as the baby comes along, sometimes it can be difficult to process it all at once.
What are the risk factors for postpartum depression?
Some factors that may predispose you to postpartum depression include:
- History of postpartum depression in previous pregnancies
- History of postpartum depression in the family
- History of psychiatric illness prior to pregnancy
- Single mother or lack of partner/friends/family support
- Financial constraints
- Poor nutritional health
What are some warning signs of postpartum depression?
Some signs that may warn you of postpartum depression are:
- Excessive crying
- Low mood
- Difficulty concentrating on daily tasks
- Increase or decrease in appetite
- Change in sleeping patterns
- Fear of harming the baby
- Feelings of guilt
- Lack of energy
- No interest in caring for the baby or building a bond with them
How will Willow Midwife Center support me during the postpartum period?
Our team at Willow Midwife Center understands how postpartum depression can have a detrimental impact on a mother’s mental health. Timely recognition and treatment go a long way in helping mothers feel better and overcome depression.
We recommend counseling for the mother and the partner in the postpartum period to recognize the signs of postpartum depression and address them. We also recommend ways you can prevent it.
It’s just important to know that whatever you’re feeling is completely normal and you don’t ever have to beat yourself up for it! Acknowledge what you’re feeling and talk about it so you can help yourself and your baby!