Postpartum depression is a condition that affects millions of women globally, every year. It is a complex mix of physical, emotional, and behavioral changes that happen in a woman after she has her child.
According to the DSM-5, a manual used to diagnose mental disorders, PPD is a form of depression that has its onset within four weeks after delivery. The diagnosis of this condition is based not only on the length of time between delivery and onset, but also on the severity of it.
What Is Postpartum Depression?
It is linked to chemical, social, and psychological changes associated with having a baby. The term describes a range of physical and emotional changes that many new mothers experience. The good news is postpartum depression can be treated with medication and counseling.
The chemical changes involve a rapid drop in hormones after delivery. The actual link between this drop and depression is still not clear. But what is known is that the levels of estrogen and progesterone, the female reproductive hormones, increase tenfold during pregnancy. Then, they drop sharply after delivery. By three days after a woman gives birth, the levels of these hormones drop back to what they were before she got pregnant.
This rapid drop is perhaps what can account for some cases of depression in new moms, and as such, medication is usually given to balance the hormonal levels.
What Are the Symptoms of Postpartum Depression?
Symptoms of postpartum depression are similar to what happens normally following childbirth. They include difficulty sleeping, appetite changes, excessive fatigue, and frequent mood changes. However, these are also accompanied by other symptoms of major depression, which are not normal after childbirth, and may include depressed mood; loss of pleasure; feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and helplessness; thoughts of death or suicide or thoughts or hurting someone else.
What Are the Risk Factors for Getting Postpartum Depression?
A number of factors can increase the risk of postpartum depression, including
- a history of depression prior to becoming pregnant, or during pregnancy
- age at time of pregnancy — the younger you are, the higher the risk of getting overwhelmed and feeling depressed.
- children — the more you have, the more likely you are to be depressed in a subsequent pregnancy
- limited support
- living alone
- marital conflict
Having a baby is one of the most beautiful experiences and my heart bleeds for the moms who cannot enjoy this experience and as a result, lose those sweet moments with their children.
If you or anyone is suffering from PPD, please get help, counselling and support as fast as you an.
On that note, please spread kindness everywhere you go as you can never tell what people are going through.