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Frequently Asked Questions about Postpartum Depression

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The season when any couple welcomes a new baby into the family is always a special season that brings about many emotions alongside the changes in the daily routine. Anticipation is matched on the other side by a little anxiety, as new moms and dads look forward to being everything to their little one while also worrying about not being good parents. This emotional tension is normal for any couple, and is understandable because of the ramifications of having a new baby in the family.
But sometimes, the emotional stress does not just end in the usual overwhelming feelings. The baby blues which comes about usually within the first few months after childbirth may be considered normal, as mothers wind up feeling moody, tired, and overwhelmed with the care of a new baby. But this typically goes away within a couple of weeks. However, when it is left unchecked, it can turn into serious postpartum depression, which is an illness that needs to be properly treated.
1. What is postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression, which happens not only after childbirth but also after still birth and miscarriages, is a mental condition that causes the mother to feel extremely sad, worthless, insecure, and hopeless. While these are normal feelings for anybody to go through during times of major change, it becomes detrimental in a new mother’s bonding and caring with the new baby. Symptoms of postpartum depression may go on for months, rendering the mother unable to care for her baby properly.
2. What causes the condition?
Changes in a woman’s hormone levels following childbirth is seen to be the cause of postpartum depression. Strangely, all women undergo hormonal changes before, during, and after pregnancy, and there seems to be no other physiological cause pinpointed that increase the risk of developing the condition. Instead, emotional and psychological factors are more likely to increase the risk.
3. Who is at a higher risk of developing postpartum depression?
There is found to be a greater chance of falling into this perpetual melancholy for moms who have suffered from depression at a previous occasion. It is also more likely to happen for a mom who has poor support from her spouse, family, and friends. Having a sick or colicky baby or having a lot of stress in other areas of life also contribute to the risk.
4. What are the symptoms?
A mom who undergoes postpartum depression tends to feel very low, empty, hopeless, and possibly anxious. A loss in pleasure of ordinary things may also be a tell-tale sign, as is not feeling hungry and losing weight. Of course, it may be extremes in terms of appetite, as other women turn to food and wind up gaining weight. When a woman has trouble sleeping or concentrating, it may also be a warning sign. Typically, these symptoms can happen within the first or second day after the birth, or they may happen after the baby blues go off in a couple of weeks.
5. Is it possible to prevent the condition?
Since hormonal fluctuation is considered the main cause of postpartum depression, it seems that prevention may not always be possible. However, other factors that affect a new mother’s emotional state may be considered in guarding against it. For example, she may decide to get rid of other stressful factors in her life at the moment, such as going on a longer leave from work if work is a stress trigger. Strong support from her spouse, family and friends will also play an integral role in assisting her emotionally. Developing realistic expectations of the herself and the baby may also help reduce unnecessary stress, as does learning as much as possible about baby care ahead of time.
6. When should you call the doctor?
Some mothers tend to write off what they’re feeling as a passing phase, but if it has come to the point that you are seriously worried, do not hesitate to see your doctor. Alternatively, if you do not have the common symptoms but are having hallucinations or delusions, such as unfounded fears of people stalking you or doing any other negative thing behind your back, it may be a good idea to set an appointment with your doctor.
Postpartum depression is not impossible to treat, as long as you or your partner is well-equipped to recognize it and get the help you need as soon as possible.

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