How do I know if I have postpartum depression?
How do I know if I have postpartum depression? – Know The Signs For many mothers, the experience of childbirth is often accompanied by fear, sadness, anxiety and difficulty in making decisions among many others.
While going through this, the women find it difficult to get the energy to care for themselves, their infants and even the family at large. Some even might experience the feeling of harming themselves and their children.
In this article, we will look at the possible causes Preview Changes (opens in a new tab)of these feelings and how these women can be helped.
There are three different types of depression that exists during and after pregnancy
(1) The baby blues
(2) Postpartum depression
(3) Postpartum psychosis
These three exists along a continuum, where the baby blues is the mildest and postpartum psychosis is the most severe.
However, the good news is that in all these cases, help is available. The most import thing to note is that any woman may become depressed prior to having a baby or during pregnancy.
This disorder does not mean that they are a bad moms to their baby and therefore, they don’t have to suffer.
There is help available. All children deserve the chance to have a their moms in good health and all moms deserve the chance to enjoy their life and their children.
We will discuss postpartum depression in length together with the other disorders to depict their similarities and differences.
The Baby Blues
This is experienced by many women in days after child birth.
In most women baby blues is temporary. This means that within the first days or even a week after childbirth, it is usually gone.
In that time, companionship and care from family members can be of great help.
Baby Blues causes mood changes that are taken to be caused naturally by the effect of the hormonal level shifts that occur with pregnancy and childbirth.
Levels of progesterone and estrogen increases during pregnancy dropping suddenly after delivery. These hormones usually normalize back to their pre-pregnancy levels within a week or so.
As these hormones normalize, this condition in most cases gets better without the need for medical treatment.
Symptoms of baby blues are:
– A feeling of sadness.
-Feeling anxious or overwhelmed.
-Increase or decrease in appetite.
-Trouble sleeping and many more.
There however exist fairly simple and effective ways to curb these effects which are:
*Getting plenty of sleep to ensure adequate rest.
*Taking naps whenever the baby is also sleeping.
*Taking the pressure off yourself. You can’t do everything by yourself — who can? Do what you can, and leave the rest for later or for others to be responsible for.
*Avoiding spending too much time alone as this can lead to over thinking which can only worsen the feeling of depression.
*Getting aid and care from your spouse or partner, family members, and friends.
*Joining a support group for new mothers.
*Engaging in light exercises each day.
The symptoms for this health disorder lasts longer and are more severe. It occurs in about 1 in 8 women and can begin at anytime within the first year after one gives birth.
This symptoms are triggered when childbirth starts off just like baby blues, but persists.
Most commonly starts about 1–3 weeks after childbirth and can still be in effect up a year ensuing having baby. Just like the initial condition, baby blues, this is also related to the shifts in hormonal levels that happen during birth and after birth.
The rapid hormone shifts leads to anxiety, sadness and depression that is more pronounced and is in effect for a longer time as compared to baby blues.
Some women can be at a higher risk of developing this condition even though it is likely to affect any woman.
If a woman has a history of experiencing depression ,which may include postpartum depression with a pregnancy from before or who has a family with a background of depression,then they stand a higher chance of being affected.
Serious stress during pregnancy increases chances for one to have postpartum depression, health problems during the pregnancy period or the period ensuing childbirth, and inadequate support at home also factors in.
Postpartum depression is characterized by various symptoms which usually range from mild to severe and these are:
-Trouble making decisions.
-Sleeping too much.
-Trouble concentrating or remembering things.
-Showing too much or not enough concern for the baby.
– The interest in caring for yourself reduces for example, your concern for dressing, bathing and fixing hair reduces.
-Loss of pleasure or interest in things you used to enjoy including sex.
-Not feeling up to doing everyday tasks.
What causes postpartum depression?
It is caused by a combination of factors as discussed earlier but now giving much insight.
These factors include:
-History of depression
-Women who currently are currently undergoing depression treatment or who have gone through depression at any time before, during, or after pregnancy have an increased risk of developing postpartum depression.
-Drastic shifts in hormonal levels
-Levels of progesterone and estrogen decrease sharply in the hours after childbirth. These changes may cause the woman to experience depression, similar to how smaller changes in hormone levels provoke tension and mood swings before menstrual periods.
-Fatigue—many women feel very tired after giving birth. For women who have had their babies by cesarean birth, it may take longer. It can take weeks before a woman can regain her normal strength and energy.
-Emotional factors—Feelings of skepticism about pregnancy are prevalent. If it was an unplanned pregnancy or if it is not wanted, this can affect the feelings of a woman about her pregnancy and her unborn baby.
Even when a pregnancy is planned, it can take a long time to adjust to the idea of having a new baby. Parents of babies who are sick or who need to stay in the hospital may feel sad, angry, or guilty. These emotions can affect a woman’s self-esteem and how she deals with stress.
-Lifestyle factors—Lack of support from others and stressful life events, such as a recent death of a loved one, a family illness, or moving to a new city, can greatly increase the risk of postpartum depression.
How is postpartum depression treated?
This can be treated with medications called antidepressants. Talk therapy is mostly used in combination with these medications.
The medications work by affecting some brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters which are used to balance the chemicals that control moods in the brain.
At times drugs are combined to get the best results. After taking the medication it takes 3-4 weeks for one to start feeling better.
These medications can also cause side effects that are temporary. However,to some the side effects might be persistent and such people are advised to change their type of medication and notify their health care first.
Questions on whether the antidepressants will be transferred to babies when breast fed is one that requires insight but it is important to note that the levels found in the breast milk are always low.
Another point to note is that breastfeeding has many benefits for both the baby and the mother and shouldn’t therefore be tampered with because for one, it greatly influences the longevity of the child.
Also, the decision to take this medication should pass through many doctors, for the benefit of the baby.
One-on-one therapy with the mother or a therapist, or even group therapy whereby the patient meets with a therapist and other people with problems similar to issues is one another way to curb this disorder.
Through such forums, the mother can meet with other new and experienced mothers and through sharing their experiences with her, she can find new ways of coping up with her situation.
Another option is couples or family therapy, in which the partners or family members work with a therapist to solve this disorder.
For those with a background of depression at any time in their life or are in the process of taking antidepressant medication should make a point of informing their doctor early in their prenatal care, preferably, they should do this before getting pregnant in order for them to start treatment early enough after giving birth.
If a person was taking antidepressants before pregnancy, the health care provider should assess their situation and provide help to them by deciding whether they should continue taking medication during pregnancy.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). This can be used in extreme cases to treat postpartum depression.This is a procedure that is normally done under anesthesia and it involves passing small electric current through the brain intentionally triggering a brief seizure.
The intention for this electrocution normally is to quickly reverse symptoms of certain mental illnesses.There’s stigma attached to ECT which is based on early treatments where high doses of electricity were administered in absence of anesthesia leading to side effects like memory loss, fractured bones and other severe side effects.
However, today the procedure is much safer but it can still cause side effects. ECT often works when other treatments have not worked and when the full course of other treatment is completed, but it may not work for everyone.
A few number of women suffer from a rare and severe form of depression that is called postpartum psychosis (1 or 2 in 1,000 women).
Women who have been diagnosed a health condition called schizoaffective disorder, a mental disorder in which a person experiences a combination of schizophrenia symptoms such as hallucinations or delusions.
This experience can be stressful to the woman and even the family at large. This health condition should be treated as a medical emergency which in most cases begins in the first fortnight ensuing childbirth.
But with the correct treatment, the women can be able to recover and resume their normal lives. There’s however no proof that this experience can affect the child’s development in the long run.
The syndrome of postpartum psychosis may include:
-Seeing or hearing things that aren’t there
-Restlessness or agitation
-Feeling confused most of the time
-Trying to hurt yourself or your baby
-Having rapid mood swings within several minutes for example, crying hysterically, and then laughing a lot, followed by extreme sadness.
-Paranoia ,thinking that others are focused on harming you
-Behaving recklessly or in a way that is not normal for you
In conclusion talking to professionals, screening for depression during and after pregnancy should be a routine part to put into consideration in each woman’s health care.
Health care professionals such as doctors, nurses, the baby’s doctor or other health care provider are familiar with the types of depression that new expectant mothers face. They know ways to help, and can explain your options to them.
They are always ready to listen and are the once who are best placed in helping to put you on the road to recovery.
Postpartum psychosis is temporary and treatable with professional help, but it is an emergency and requires immediate help.
Furthermore, the same tips for getting through baby blues also can be so valuable in getting through postpartum depression.
After consulting a health care person, it is always best for the victim to adopt whatever steps and plans they have been advised to follow.
Depression during pregnancy isn’t one that can just be shook off. It is the belief of the society that the happiest moment in a woman is when they get their child but this is not usually the case.
Some even end up not getting help due to lack of support from their family members as a result of this belief.
Some women even fail to get help as a result of feeling shameful. It is therefore important to ensure that we accord these women the necessary help to help in smoothing this experience for them.
Proper health means improved longevity and therefore its important to ensure that these health conditions are looked into with the seriousness they deserve.
Supplements for Increasing Dopamine and Serotonin Levels
Fish oil is known to induce dopamine and serotonin receptors to become more sensitive and bind their receptors. It is one of the best supplements to take.
Tyrosine is quickly broken down in the body. Once the body processes it, it increases the mood of the user, and he or she becomes more alert to their surrounding. The supplement is directly converted to dopamine once it is consumed.
This is found in the cell membrane which easily increases dopamine levels. This supplement aids in the storage, activity, and release of many neurotransmitters and their receptors as well.
This is an amino acid which when consumed, the body synthesizes it to serotonin.
This supplement has been used severally to treat depression in most parts of Europe. It is produced from Methionine, which is an amino acid. It helps in the synthesis of serotonin.
Saint John’s Wort
The supplement is made from Extracts of the St. John’s wort plant. It inhibits the reuptake of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine neurotransmitters thus enabling them to stay much longer in the brain.
St John’s Wort Extract Supplement: 500mg Vitamin Herb For Mood, Serotonin, Dopamine, and Anxiety Relief Support. Manages…
MOST HELPFUL AS A MOOD SUPPORT FORMULA - Everyday challenges can cause stress, anxiety and sometimes drastic mood swings. St John's Wort supplements will serve as a Serotonin booster for your body, a feel good hormone essential for mood uplift and stress relief.
SAVE TIME & MONEY WITH 500mg - Do not waste your time with 6 tea bags a day. Our St John's Wort supplement allows you the convenience of just taking one capsule a day to get the essential benefits of Hypericin, serving as a mood stabilizer, morning or night.
USE AS A PRODUCTIVITY TOOL - With higher Serotonin levels, imagine how much more you will be able to accomplish everyday. Look, when you are a somber mood, getting things done is more of a challenge than when you are relaxed and focused. Why waste precious time on other anxiety supplements?
For you to efficiently control dopamine and serotonin levels in your brain, you need to implement a diet plan that contains the foods that have been enlisted above, together with the supplements. It is also important to ensure that you sleep enough and exercise on a daily basis.