An estimated 10-20% of new moms suffer from postpartum depression, characterized by severe and long-lasting feelings of sadness after birth. Keep reading to learn more about the symptoms and potential treatment options for those undergoing this condition!
While it is normal to experience mild mood swings, anxiety, sadness, and irritation after birth, it should only last up to two weeks. If symptoms are more prolonged and severe such as depression, excessive crying, insomnia, and high anxiety, it is likely that you may be facing postpartum depression.
While the exact cause of postpartum depression is unknown, experts predict that the intense hormonal changes, evidenced by the significant drop of estrogen and progesterone, may contribute to depression-like symptoms. Becoming a new mother or having another child can also take a high emotional toll, leaving you more likely to feel anxious, overwhelmed, and tired.
Postpartum depression vs. Postpartum psychosis
Many women suffer from postpartum depression, but the symptoms generally subside naturally and are not a major cause for concern. However, postpartum psychosis is a much rarer condition that involves highly intense symptoms such as hallucinations, paranoia, and attempts to commit self harm, which can require immediate treatment. Keep an eye on the severity of your symptoms, and if you are unable to live a healthy day-to-day life, it may be wise to consult your physician during postpartum check-ups.
Rest, open communication with family and friends, and avoiding caffeine or alcohol can often help you navigate postpartum depression. Depending on the intensity of your symptoms, psychotherapy can help you understand your feelings and develop goals to manage mental health issues. If needed, your doctor may prescribe antidepressants to help lift your mood as well. It is important to monitor your symptoms to prevent a relapse of depression or a progression from postpartum depression to chronic depression!
Implementing healthy lifestyle changes such as daily gentle exercise and setting aside time for self care can help you naturally manage depression symptoms as well. It is also important to communicate with your friends and family and reach out to those with similar experiences to avoid feeling isolated and alone during your journey!