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How to Cope With Postpartum Depression

Sensations of sadness, anxiety and exhaustion following the birth of a baby are a normal response. These emotions are known as “baby blues”, and usually dissipate within two weeks.

If you find yourself experiencing depression or feeling depressed, speak to your physician immediately. They may suggest counseling services as well as medications which are suitable to take while breastfeeding – most antidepressants being among them.

Symptoms

Many new mothers report feeling sad or tearful after childbirth; these feelings are common and should dissipate within several days to weeks. If these symptoms continue for over two weeks and interfere with daily life activities, it is important to discuss them with healthcare provider; if necessary, request referral from an obstetrician or primary care physician to a mental health professional for further assessment.

Some women with a history of depression or anxiety are at an increased risk for postpartum depression (PPD). Furthermore, experiencing a stressful life event during or shortly after pregnancy or shortly after delivery; smoking; having family history of PPD; having low levels of emotional support; as well as experiencing feelings of hopelessness or guilt and feelings of worthlessness increase that risk significantly. When severe, women may consider self harm or suicide.

If you know of a new mother who seems depressed, make sure she receives support. Encourage her to spend time with friends and others who can listen; offer to run errands or watch the baby for her so she can nap; join a support group for new parents; try eating well and exercising regularly; sleep when your baby naps and take breaks from caring for him/her; make sure she has someone she can turn to regularly (either physically or by phone or text messaging); ensure someone will visit or call regularly as she will need someone there who cares for her too!

PPD symptoms can range from mild to severe, yet are easily treatable with psychotherapy and antidepressants. They typically appear either within one week after delivery or gradually over several months; common indicators include sadness or crying for no discernible reason, irritability, difficulty sleeping, overwhelming fatigue and feeling powerless to manage everyday tasks.

Understanding depressive states is crucial, and seeing a mental health professional, like a psychiatrist or psychologist, may be the most effective way to learn how to cope and recover.

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Treatment

Thankfully, most women experiencing postpartum depression can make a full recovery with therapy and medications. Seek assistance as soon as possible as leaving untreated could impact both mother and baby; symptoms could include behavior issues for the infant as well as difficulty sleeping or eating patterns and neglect or difficulty bonding between mother and child.

Your health care provider will screen for postpartum depression at your postpartum care visits and may ask about any unusual feelings you are experiencing. If you suspect PPD, notify them immediately so they can assess and provide appropriate support.

Your healthcare provider may conduct tests to rule out other possible causes for the symptoms you’re experiencing, such as thyroid conditions. Psychotherapy or talk therapy, whether done alone or with other new mothers in groups, is typically the first step toward treating perinatal mood disorders. Types of talk therapy available include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy and supportive counseling – though more drastic measures such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) might also be an option in cases with severe mood disturbance.

If you suffer from mild to moderate depression, medication may be recommended to balance hormone levels and ease symptoms. Antidepressants are an effective way to relieve your symptoms and enhance quality of life; your health care provider can discuss various antidepressant types before helping you select one that’s appropriate. Breastfeeding mothers will also receive advice about which antidepressants are safe to take during this timeframe.

Most antidepressant medication comes in pill form; however, in severe cases your health care provider may administer an injection of Brexanolone; the first drug specifically created to treat postpartum depression that has proven very successful at relieving symptoms. You’ll need to stay in hospital for three days in order to receive this medicine and receive its effects.

If your friend or family member seems depressed after giving birth, encourage her to seek assistance. Offer to accompany her to her doctor/therapist appointments and offer help with chores/cooking as necessary. Exercise can also be an invaluable source of relief; try getting outside daily – even just for a stroll around the block – even if that means going for just 15 minutes at a time.

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Prevention

Women who understand their risks for postpartum depression are less likely to be caught off-guard and can take steps to safeguard against it. Things such as getting enough restful sleep, taking time for themselves and finding support from friends and family all help, as does taking antidepressant drugs during gestation – according to one study these women had lower rates of postpartum mood episodes than those who didn’t use such medicines during gestation.

Mild symptoms of depression are to be expected after giving birth and are commonly referred to as the baby blues. While these feelings affect up to 80% of new mothers, they usually pass within two weeks without interfering with functioning and bonding with her infant. If symptoms continue beyond two weeks or interfere with mother-baby relationships or interfere with bonding efforts then medical assistance should be sought immediately.

If the symptoms arise suddenly and intensely, they could indicate postpartum psychosis – a rare but serious condition characterized by hallucinations and delusions which make taking care of oneself and her baby difficult. Moderate to severe perinatal depression should also be addressed promptly.

Preventative steps that women can take include making sure they get enough restful sleep and consume a well-balanced diet, in addition to avoiding major changes such as moving or switching jobs after giving birth – this may add stressors that increase the risks of postpartum depression.

An integral element of motherhood is having a solid support network of family and friends around her after giving birth, such as BetterHelp which connects women to licensed therapists. If a woman feels alone after giving birth, having them nearby is crucial; in particular being reminded that support groups exist both online and off.

Lastly, women with histories of depression or bipolar disorder should consult with their healthcare provider prior to getting pregnant. If she’s at high risk, a screening test to detect depression and other mood disorders during gestation might be recommended; alternatively, she could consider taking medications proven to treat depression without passing through breast milk into the baby’s system.

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Support

There are various resources, both online and off, that are designed to assist women suffering from postpartum depression. These services can offer mothers and their partners the support needed for recovery as well as information needed for seeking treatments.

Online resources provide women with a safe space to share their experiences, feelings and thoughts with other mothers. Postpartum depression support communities can be particularly useful because they allow women to connect with those who understand the experience as well as providing encouragement against symptoms of postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression symptoms may resemble those of baby blues; however, if you find yourself saddened or despondent after childbirth and experiencing anxiety or hopelessness it is crucial that you speak to a healthcare provider as soon as possible in order to receive effective treatment and avoid complications.

Psychotherapy (also referred to as talk therapy) can be one of the most effective forms of postpartum depression treatment. While working with your therapist, you will learn healthy coping techniques, reduce stress levels and establish relationships. There are various forms of therapy such as cognitive behaviour therapy or interpersonal psychotherapy available.

Psychotherapy and medications may both help treat postpartum depression; however, prior to taking any medication it is wise to discuss all available options with a healthcare provider as certain substances can have side-effects and it is wise to be wary as certain women may have adverse reactions from certain drugs.

One option for postpartum depression support is using screening tools to quickly recognize symptoms and seek treatment as soon as possible. Such tools can be found online and include the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale – a simple 10-question survey asking about specific symptoms that will make diagnosing and treating postpartum depression easier for healthcare providers. The more accurate your responses are about these issues, the easier they’ll be for providers.

If you are helping a loved one deal with postpartum depression, remember that its symptoms may be frightening or difficult for them to express. Be patient and supportive as you assist them in finding ways to rest; offer babysitting services if possible or offer physical or emotional support if appropriate.