Postpartum Depression – Coping with the Baby Blues

By Dr. Drai
By Dr. Drai

Postpartum depression (PPD), a depressive mood disorder that may occur after a woman gives birth, is a very serious issue that every pregnant woman MUST be aware of.  According to the American Psychological Association, a recent study suggests that approximately 1 in 7 women may experience postpartum depression in the year after giving birth. Let’s dive into post-partum depression.

Within a few hours of giving birth the amount of estrogen and progesterone return to their pre-pregnancy levels. This drop-in hormone levels can affect a woman’s mood. In some women, the levels of thyroid hormones decrease as well. This decrease in hormones can lead to symptoms of depression as well. Symptoms include a depressed mood, loss of interest in daily things, problems sleeping, fatigue, irritability, and weight gain.

Another factor that can lead to postpartum depression is genetics. This type of depression can be passed down from mother to daughter. There is also a correlation between postpartum depression and women who suffer from severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

In addition to the drastic changes in hormone levels, the presence of a new baby in the house is also a major factor in postpartum depression. A new baby can be a major stress on a new mom and this can factor into becoming depressed. Some of these factors include:

  • Having less free time then before the baby was born
  • The inability to control the time needed to get things done
  • The baby demands all the mother’s attention, leaving little time for herself.

Also, going through labor is extremely stressful and tiring for a new mom. A new mom does not have time to regain her strength post-delivery because of the demands and needs of the new baby. Just getting a good night’s sleep is nearly impossible with late-night feedings and diaper changes.

Many new mothers question their own ability to be a good mom. They become overwhelmed with the care the new baby needs and start to worry that they aren’t providing the care their baby needs.

For new moms, postpartum depression can occur with a feeling that they are no longer who they used to be. Their old schedule and ways of doing things have been replaced by the needs of their new baby. They can also feel like they have to do it all and try to take care of the new baby while doing all the things they used to do. This can be very overwhelming because chances are the care of the new baby will not allow them to accomplish all that they think they should.

New moms can also become disconnected from their partner and family. They find that their time is limited and they just don’t have time to spend with the rest of their family.

For most women, the “baby blues” will usually go away as their hormone levels get back to normal. But for some women, the depression associated with a new baby does not go away and can steadily get worse. It is very important that women who experience any kind of depression after childbirth talks to their doctor right away. Most cases of postpartum depression can be treated with medication and counseling.

Until next time #GYNEGirls and #Preggos…

 Dr. Drai

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