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Postpartum Depression (PPD)
by TeenHelp December 2nd 2018, 02:01 PM

Postpartum Depression (PPD)
By Brittany (.Brittany.)

What is it?

Most of the time, people think that having a baby is the happiest time in a mother's life, when in reality it could be one of the hardest. Approximately 10-15% of women suffer from Postpartum Depression, or PPD within the first year of the child’s life. [
source]
Some moms go through what is called “the baby blues” and it only lasts a little while, whereas PPD can last for months. Both moms and dads can suffer from PPD, but it’s more common in mothers.

Symptoms

Some symptoms are very similar to those of regular depression, but there are some main symptoms for postpartum depression:
  • The new mom can feel very overwhelmed and anxious, thinking that she isn't able to care for this new baby.
  • She may feel sad, empty, alone, and afraid of what will happen. She may think that she should be a better mom.
  • The mom might have thoughts that the baby could potentially be better off without her.
  • Uncontrolled crying could occur.
  • Thoughts of hurting herself or her baby might surface.
  • Thoughts of death and suicide can present themselves.

In contrast, symptoms of the baby blues may include:
  • Mood swings including irritability, anxiety, and crying.
  • Appetite problems and difficulty sleeping.

Causes

There are two factors that can cause postpartum depression. There are both physical and emotional changes.

After a mother delivers a baby, there’s a sudden drop in both estrogen and progesterone within the body. This has a huge role in the physical factors of PPD. It can leave the mom feeling sluggish and tired.

When the mother is near the end of her pregnancy, she may start to become sleep deprived. Once the baby is born she is up at all hours of the night with sadness, anxiety, and listening to the cries from her baby. These are emotional changes that she may have from childbirth until a couple of years after the birth of her baby.

Risk Factors

Some risk factors are:
  • Mental health disorders.
  • Poor support or financial situation.
  • Poor relationship with significant other.
  • Not being able to work/fear of unemployment.
  • Postpartum depression after a previous pregnancy.
  • Being unable to breastfeed her baby and feeling like she's letting them down.

What to do

As with many other mental illnesses, the common support is cognitive-behavioural therapy, also known as CBT. Cognitive-behavioural therapy teaches how behaviour, feelings, and thoughts work together. Mothers could also join a support group to meet others who are going through the same situation. Antidepressants are an option, as long as it’s been discussed with a doctor. Most antidepressants are safe to use while a mom is breastfeeding. If a mother is having trouble breastfeeding, there are many different options out there. Most areas have a Lactation Consultant who can try and help with latching, but also, formula is a great alternative for those moms who are unable to breastfeed. Lastly, the most important thing that a mother can do is to surround herself with loved ones and take time for herself. The mother should not feel ashamed if she needs to ask a family member to come and watch her newborn for a bit while she goes to take a bath or sleep, as they are here to help.

In conclusion, whether the mother is struggling with PPD or the baby blues, she always needs to remember that she's not alone and has supports no matter where she reaches out. All mothers deserve help and support regardless of whether or not she is struggling from PPD or the baby blues. If you or someone you know is struggling after giving birth, seek help.

Postpartum Support International: 1-800-944-4773

Sources
https://cmha.ca/documents/postpartum-depression

http://www.postpartumprogress.com/th...n-mama-english
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depression, postpartum, ppd

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