Baby Blues: What We Know About Postpartum Depression

Introduction

The term Postpartum Depression (PPD) describes a wide variety of physical and emotional adjustments experienced by a significant number of new mothers. Since the hormonal levels of new mothers drop significantly immediately after delivery, this chemical change is likely to result in depression. This condition may also be caused by the psychological and social changes that new mothers experience after delivery. As reported by Chojenta, Lucke, Forder, & Loxton (2016), one out of every ten new mothers experience postpartum depression. This condition is common and involves physical, social, emotional, and psychological changes experienced by new mothers immediately after having a baby. However, it can be treated easily through therapy and medications.

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Types of Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression manifests in different ways, with the most common form being the ‘baby blues,’ which refers to the sudden mood changes that new mothers experience, which may result in sadness, agitation, solitude, nervousness, and tetchiness. PPD affects nearly all new mothers and may last for two weeks post-delivery. The condition involves extended and recurrent signs of baby blues with features of depression and maybe experienced a few weeks or even months after the baby is born.

It is recommendable that new mothers experiencing any symptoms of depression should visit a healthcare provider for treatment through methods such as therapy and appropriate drugs. Also, new mothers may experience a severe type of PDD known as postpartum psychosis, which may lead to a loss of touch with reality along with other severe signs of depression such as anxiety, sleeplessness, hallucination, delusion, and restiveness.

Symptoms

The most usual signs of postpartum depression include severe exhaustion, decreased desire for food, and mood swings. “I couldn’t sleep for days because I was afraid that if something happened to my daughter, I wouldn’t be there to help her,” reports N, a 31-year-old woman who suffered from PPD for six months after birth (N, personal communication, 3 Feb. 2019). For some new mothers, the signs may include anxiety, agitation, feelings of isolation, and restiveness.

This is how N describes her postpartum anxiety: “I wanted to be a perfect mother but felt like a failure. It was like I was not doing anything right (personal communication, 3 Feb. 2019).” Symptoms of the condition in severe cases involving postpartum psychosis include mothers experiencing feelings of ineptness and hopelessness as well as suicidal thoughts. According to N, she would not describe her intrusive thoughts during the depressive period as suicidal ideation; however, at times, the woman had an impression that her life was senseless.

Predisposing Factors

Various factors increase the risk of postpartum depression, such as a history of the condition even before pregnancy which increases the likelihood of a mother developing it after delivery. Mothers who have many children may have PPD, especially if they do not have adequate finances to care for them (Chojenta et al., 2016). Women who get pregnant at a young age are predisposed to the condition as they attempt to work out a way of dealing with the new status.

Also, PDD may result when a new mother is experiencing marital conflict or limited family or social support since they lack the help that they need to cope with the changes associated with being a new mother (Ghaedrahmati, Kazemi, Kheirabadi, Ebrahimi, &Bahrami, 2017). In the case of N, the woman and her husband had been trying to conceive a baby for several years before a successful attempt. N’s heightened expectations of motherhood experience might have led her to compare the daily realities of caring for a newborn to the perfect image in her head, which resulted in sadness and anxiety.

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Treatment

The type of treatment for PPD varies depending on the nature and severity of the condition. An antidepressant is the most commonly used medication to alleviate symptoms of depression, while psychotherapy is used to direct a patient on the ways of coping and overcoming any symptoms related to depression. As reported by Ghaedrahmati et al. (2017), a patient with postpartum psychosis may be admitted and treated using various antipsychotic drugs.

Other recommended means of coping include family and social support. N’s therapist, Doctor A., states that a patient makes a significant step towards healing by recognizing the problem and combating the feelings of shame. According to A., depression, and anxiety are not a normal part of motherhood, and destructive thoughts and behavioral patterns should be addressed promptly. “There is still a lot of stigma around being a mother who struggles with new challenges. Modern medicine offers a variety of options, from therapy to medication. A treatment plan should focus on exposing the underlying causes and tackling the symptoms” (Doctor A., personal communication, 3 Feb. 2019).

Conclusion

Conclusively, postpartum depression is a widespread condition that is experienced by one out of ten mothers immediately after delivery. The condition manifests in different forms like postpartum psychosis and baby blues, with symptoms depending on the type of PDD a mother is experiencing. Lack of social or family support, age, marital conflicts as well as a history of depression are among the primary predisposing factors of PDD. Postpartum depression can be managed through antidepressant drugs and psychotherapy, while in cases of postpartum psychosis, antipsychotic medications are used to treat the condition.

References

Chojenta, C. L., Lucke, J. C., Forder, P. M., & Loxton, D. J. (2016). Maternal health factors as risks for postnatal depression: A prospective longitudinal study. PLoS ONE, 11(1), 1-9. Web.

Ghaedrahmati, M., Kazemi, A., Kheirabadi, G., Ebrahimi, A., & Bahrami, M. (2017). Postpartum depression risk factors: A narrative review. Journal of Education and Health Promotion, 6(60), 1-21. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, June 13). Baby Blues: What We Know About Postpartum Depression. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/baby-blues-what-we-know-about-postpartum-depression/

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"Baby Blues: What We Know About Postpartum Depression." StudyCorgi, 13 June 2021, studycorgi.com/baby-blues-what-we-know-about-postpartum-depression/.

1. StudyCorgi. "Baby Blues: What We Know About Postpartum Depression." June 13, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/baby-blues-what-we-know-about-postpartum-depression/.


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StudyCorgi. "Baby Blues: What We Know About Postpartum Depression." June 13, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/baby-blues-what-we-know-about-postpartum-depression/.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "Baby Blues: What We Know About Postpartum Depression." June 13, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/baby-blues-what-we-know-about-postpartum-depression/.

References

StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Baby Blues: What We Know About Postpartum Depression'. 13 June.

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