You cannot predict how you’ll feel after pregnancy. Most women anticipate pleasure and euphoria in the coming of their newborn baby but get surprised when they feel otherwise. There is an explanation why your emotions go haywire postpartum and it’s a condition coined by Medicine as the postpartum blues. These are feelings of unexplained sadness, mood swings, irritability, insomnia, confusion, anxiety, nervousness, and loss of appetite and the lack of self-confidence. And with all these negative emotions muddled together with the responsibility of caring for a newborn there is no doubt that mothers will feel frustrated and miserable. The blues manifest a few days after birth and usually peaks during the fourth day following delivery. After a week or two the symptoms that go with the blues will slowly subside. Postpartum blues occur in about fifty to eighty percent of women all over the world but since it spontaneously abates during its second week there is no need for you to be alarmed.
There are several factors that can possibly intensify and complicate the diagnosis. One is when new mothers think that it takes a while for them to adjust to motherhood and when they believe that depression is a normal part of the package. Another is when they keep their feelings to themselves in the fear of being stigmatized. Pressure from society also stirs up feeling of guilt and shame in the mother and this too contributes to the aggravation of postpartum blues. When mothers seek comfort in physicians who are too lazy to explore the emotional stress that postpartum mothers experience, the condition worsens.
While postpartum blues occurs in about fifty to eighty percent of women postpartum depression or PPD, on the other hand, occurs in only eight to fifteen percent. Postpartum depression starts on the third week after delivery and onwards. Fifty percent of those who have been diagnosed with PPD started during their third month while seventy five percent began on their sixth month. Symptoms of postpartum blues include loss of energy, weight loss, loss of appetite, sleep disturbance (it could either be hypersomnia or insomnia), lack of interest, depressed mood, despondence, psychomotor agitation or retardation, anxiety, nervousness, poor concentration, suicidal thoughts and fear of being criticized of their mothering skills.
Let’s now consider the risk factors of postpartum depression. Women who encountered recent life events such as death of a loved one are more at risk of PPD. Those who have a past history of psychopathology and have undergone psychological disturbance during the course of their pregnancy are also more prone to experience PPD. Low family income, history of abuse or if the newborn baby is born with an illness, is premature or is disabled. The presence of anti-thyroid antibodies also triggers PPD.
Albeit the etiology of PPD is not thoroughly understood many believe that that the cause can be traced to the sudden drop of hormones after pregnancy. Other studies suggest that the lack of vitamins is another probable cause. Nonetheless, when symptoms of postpartum depression begin to manifest it is necessary that you take immediate action and not let your troubled emotion stay for too long.
Postpartum depression can be treated through medication and counseling. The results will be gradual so do not expect too much because this will only leave you frustrated and depressed all the more.
Usually doctors prescribe you with antidepressants. These drugs can help alleviate the symptoms of postpartum depression. Inform your doctor if you are nursing because any medication you take in will be transmitted to your baby through your breast milk. However, there are drugs designed for nursing mothers with little or no side effects on the baby. Talk to your doctor about your conditions so the two of you can weigh your options. Ask all the questions you have in mind so your doctor can clarify any doubts. It is important to know that a medication taken by someone else may not work well with you so it is highly necessary that you do a one-on-one appointment with your doctor.
Consider counseling. Talking to a psychiatrist or a psychologist about your thoughts, worries and fears will help you get through your postpartum depression. These professionals are determined to help you overcome your PPD by teaching you different styles of coping.
Therapy is also useful during times of PPD. Guided self-help teaches patients to literally help themselves through cognitive behavioral techniques. Talking therapies encourage patients to talk either alone with their counselors or within a group who share the same condition. Two of the most beneficial talk therapies include cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy. The former is based on the notion that negative thoughts will ultimately lead to negative behavior and this is what counselors want to avoid. The latter delves into identifying if the relationship the patient has with others may be the reason why she is feeling depressed.
Addressing postpartum depression is very important not just for the mother but for the baby as well. So if you know someone who you think is experiencing PPD, do not hesitate to reach out to them.
Florence Aguilar – A registered nurse working for NaturalTongkatali.com, is an avid health writer who keeps himself abreast of the latest research and studies on Tongkat Ali Extract and Health Topics. He believes in the benefits of continued learning and aims to inspire and make the world a better place for both men and women through his writings.