Postnatal Depression: The Severe “Baby Blues”

November 12, 2012

Postnatal Depression: The Severe "Baby Blues"

There is no need to feel alone when you are not as happy after having your baby as you thought you should be because postnatal depression is common among women everywhere.

A large percentage of women go through a low period after giving birth. The severity of this emotional period will determine whether or not there is need for concern. “Baby blues” occurs in almost every pregnancy but normally only lasts for a few days up to a few weeks. Postnatal depression occurs in about 15% of women within the first month of having a new baby. It is important for new mothers to not keep any signs of depression to themselves so that the situation can be addressed as soon as possible. In some cases, PND may clear up and normal depression may set in.

Causes

There is no clear rhyme or reason for what actually causes postnatal depression. Many professionals currently believe that it is a combination of numerous factors which causes the depression. The hormonal changes which take place in the body following the birth of a baby can be a leading contributor to the initial bouts of depression. On top of this, the introduction of an infant to the household often adds a tremendous amount of stress and change to the mother’s life. This stress can further cause the condition in women already susceptible to depression. Some new mothers are more likely to develop postnatal depression based on:

  • Evidence of previous depression

  • Family history of depression due to genetics

  • Mothers experiencing severe stressful situations while pregnant

  • New mothers lacking a supporting family or home

  • Unplanned pregnancy

Symptoms of Postnatal Depression

The traditional symptoms of depression are common throughout postnatal depression cases. There are other signs which specifically involve the mother-child relationship. In general, if a woman is experiencing the following signs for any extended period of time, she should seek professional assistance:

  • Sleep disturbances beyond the normal interruptions from a new infant

  • Finding it hard to enjoy yourself in a number of situations

  • A feeling of being sad, miserable, or simply gloomy for no reason

  • Lack of an appetite

  • Anxiety

  • Irritability

  • A feeling of being worthless

  • Possible thoughts of suicide as situations seem impossible to overcome

  • Severe lack of energy

  • Inability to cope

Treating PND

Do not worry if you are suffering from postnatal depression because there are treatment options available. The condition is often treated like regular depression. Women should feel bad or hesitate about finding help because it is important for you and your baby that you are feeling at your best. Here are some ideas to help keep your PND under control:

  • Antidepressants may be suggested in some cases

  • Look for a solid support system who will help in taking care of the baby

  • Stay positive especially since many women suffer from the same feelings and you can get over them

  • Do not worry about losing your child simply because you are being treated for depression

  • Talk to someone about your feelings so that things are not bottled up

  • Sleep whenever the opportunity arises

  • Do not overstress yourself

  • Try to keep a healthy and normal diet

  • Join a support group or talk to other mothers

  • Speak to your health care provider about any concerns you may have

As long as you do not let yourself become too depressed and actively seek help for your postnatal depression, you should return to your normal self relatively quickly. In some cases, this initial depression can escalate into postpartum depression which is more severe and lasts longer. Do not go on suffering simply because you feel like you are all alone.

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