Postpartum Depression-More than just “baby blues”

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More than just “baby blues”

Mental health is not something easily talked about but there is a serious medical condition that needs addressing, postpartum depression, which doesn’t get enough attention in our community. As a mom it can be a struggle to balance life after having a baby. It’s normal to experience some highs and some lows in terms of emotions. Dealing with a lack of sleep, breastfeeding, and maybe even managing other children at the same time can be stressful. All of this can be hard and even overwhelming, which can lead to a disease more prevalent than gestational diabetes, yet less talked about.

What is Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression is a state of depression after having given birth. It’s more than “baby blues” which can include intermittent mood swings, crying spells, and last about 2 weeks after having a baby. Postpartum depression may be mistaken for baby blues at first — but the signs and symptoms are more intense and last longer, and may eventually interfere with your ability to care for your baby and handle other daily tasks. If postpartum is left untreated it can last several months or longer. 

Signs and Symptoms of Postpartum Depression

Causes/Treatment

There is no single cause for postpartum depression, however it’s believed that hormones and a women’s state of being plays a big role into contributing to postpartum depression. Whether she has a history of depression before hand, if there is an increase amount of stress in her life and not a great support system, and fatigue can also play a huge role. Treatments include being evaluated by a health care provider for severity of illness, medication, and psychotherapy. Lifestyle changes can also play a huge role in recovery and reduce some symptoms of postpartum depression include 

When to talk to your doctor

Talk to your doctor right away if you have a history of depression or have experience postpartum depression before. It’s necessary to make these factors known ahead of time before the baby so you and your health care provider can come up with a plan. There are test and questionnaire they can do first as preventative measures or as a way of guiding treatment. After having the baby feel free to call your health care provider if you experience these symptoms before your six-week check up. Reasons to call your doctor sooner than later include it’s hard to complete everyday task, your having hallucinations, thoughts of harming you or your baby, and symptoms are getting worse not better. By taking charge of your health you are on the positive track to making a healthy difference for you and your baby.

Author
Marie Mathurin Certified Nurse Midwife

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