Understand Postpartum Depression- Depending on the severity of postpartum depression, its type can range from mild baby blues, postnatal depression to postnatal psychosis.
Depression after childbirth is a common problem. About 10-15% of the women experience postpartum depression (PPD) after childbirth. The severity of PPD can vary in severity from mild baby blues (a period of mood disturbance) to postnatal depression (PND) to the most severe form which is the postnatal psychosis. Read to know the signs and symptoms of various types of postnatal depression.
Symptoms of Baby Blues
Signs and symptoms of the baby blues the mildest form of postnatal depression usually last for only a few days or weeks and may include:
- Frequent changes in mood (mood swings).
- Anxiety, undue concerns.
- Feeling sad or gloomy.
- Crying often and without reason.
- Difficulty in concentration.
- Disturbed sleep/difficulty in falling asleep.
Symptoms of Postnatal Depression
Postpartum depression may initially seem like baby blues — but the signs and symptoms become intense and last longer. The symptoms can interfere with the mother’s ability to take care of the baby and do other daily activities. If the postpartum depression is not treated it may last foreven years. The symptoms of PND are very much like 'ordinary' depression. Signs and symptoms of postpartum depression may include:
- Insomnia/Disturbed sleep/difficulty in falling asleep
- Often feeling anxious, irritable,angry
- Feeling low or miserable often and may be without a reason
- Feeling excessively tired,overwhelming fatigue,lethargic.
- Loss of interest in sex .
- Loss of interest in enjoying any activity (loss of interest in your hobbies,pastimes, social activities).
- Change in appetite.
- Feeling useless, worthless or guilty.
- Feelings of shame, guilt or inadequacy
- Mood swings.
- Difficulty in bonding with the baby,
- Withdrawal/secluding yourself from family and friends,
- Suicidal thoughts.
This is the most severe and rare form of depression that may occur after childbirth.It usually starts in the first two weeks after delivery and the signs and symptoms more severe and worrisome. Some of the signs and symptoms of postpartum psychosis are;
- Confusion, or disorientation.
- Hallucinations/delusions/withdrawal from reality.
- Paranoia or severe mistrust.
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts to harm yourself or the baby.
When to See a Doctor
Many women tend to ignore symptoms of depression and may be reluctant or embarrassed to admit it. But remember that if it is not treated appropriately the symptoms can last for months to may even years and it can damage your relationship with your spouse and negatively affect your child. So consult your doctor if the signs and symptoms of depression:
- Persist after two weeks.
- Seem to be worsening.
- Make it difficult for you to care for the baby and yourself.
- Doing everyday tasks becomes a challenge.
- You have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby.
Early and appropriate treatment for postpartum depression can control and cure your symptoms. If you have symptoms suggestive of postpartum psychosis, consult your doctor immediately.
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