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Postpartum depression is a disorder that appears in women after they give birth. The disease can occur soon after birth, or even a year later, and its severity can be moderate, and in some cases hefty. The most common postpartum depression occurs in the first three months after birth.
The exact reasons why postnatal depression occurs are not known. Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy and right after it is one of the factors that may affect the well-being of a woman. But there are also other probable reasons for which a woman falls on postpartum onset:
- changes in the body occurring in owing to pregnancy and childbirth,
- variations in the labor market and social relations,
- lack of time for themselves and reduce previous freedom,
- sleep problems,
- concern about the ability to be a good mother.
There are also factors that increase the risk of developing postpartum onset, among them can be mentioned:
- the young age up to 20 years,
- abuse of alcohol, drugs or smoking of cigarettes – these are the factors threatening the health of children,
- unplanned pregnancy or doubts related to pregnancy,
- previous problems with depression, bipolar disorders, anxiety disorders before pregnancy, or earlier in the past.
- the experience of stressful events during pregnancy or childbirth-related, including illness, death or illness of a loved one, a difficult birth, premature birth, as well as diseases or defects in the child.
- cases of postpartum depression that occurred in the immediate family,
- poor relationship with the father of the child or partner,
- financial problems, housing, etc.,
- lack of support from family, friends, spouse or partner.
Postnatal depression can have different symptoms, among the most common of them, which usually appear within a week or two after pregnancy are – an intense feeling of anxiety, irritability, excessive crying. These feelings appear in many women and are called the “baby blues”, but usually, this passes quickly and do not require treatment.
If despite the passage of time “baby blues” persists or there are additional symptoms in the months following the childbirth, we are dealing with the proper postpartum depression. Its symptoms are similar to those associated with depression, which occurs in other periods of life. Along with sadness and depressed mood can appear then also:
- agitation and irritability,
- changes in appetite – from the attacks of hunger after a complete lack of it,
- feelings of worthlessness or guilt,
- feeling withdraw, isolation,
- anhedonia, even to the so far favorite things or activities
- problems with concentration,
- lack of energy,
- problems with the exercise of the simplest of tasks at home or work,
- heightened anxiety,
- thoughts of death and suicide,
- problems with sleeping.
In young mothers with postpartum depression, it happens also have difficulties with the proper care of the child and themselves, fear to remain alone with the toddler, negative feelings towards the child – including thoughts of causing harm to own baby, which must always be reported to the doctor. Postnatal depression, also causes intense worrying about the child, or just the opposite lack of interest in him, and even indifference.
Diagnosis and treatment of postpartum depression
Does not exist one proven way to diagnose postpartum depression, because it is a very insidious disorder. It is well to execute a woman with postpartum depression blood test for the screening, which will determine the medical causes of depression.
- ask loved ones for help with child care,
- open up and talk about the feelings and fears with a partner friends or family,
- abstain from making major life changes during pregnancy and immediately after birth,
- permit her to the imperfection and mistakes,
- allowed her to relax and entertainment, meeting with friends or spend time alone with a partner
- rest whenever it is possible – e.g., sleeping when the baby sleeps,
- talking to other mothers who share their experiences and will support.
Postnatal depression in more severe cases may require drug treatment, but of great importance here is a fact of breastfeeding. Helpful are also therapies interpersonal, behavioral or joining a support group. It is important to receive assistance from loved ones, which can help to reduce the symptoms of post-partum depression.
Untreated postnatal depression may last for months or years, and its complications are the same as for major depressive disorder. Besides, it may be dangerous for both the young mother and child.