Postpartum depression, also known as postnatal depression or PPD, is one of the most common mental health disorders experienced by mothers. It can affect moms during pregnancy, after birth, or both.
Pregnancy-related postpartum depression symptoms include:
- feelings of sadness and anxiety
- changes in appetite and weight gain or loss
- sleep problems
- difficulty concentrating
Postpartum depression symptoms that occur after birth may be similar to those experienced while pregnant with additional symptoms such as:
- feeling overwhelmed with parenting responsibilities
- extreme mood swings.
The exact cause of postpartum depression is unknown. It seems to affect mothers differently, but certain risk factors increase the chances of developing PPD:
A young mother with little or no social support and/or in a stressful environment is more likely to develop postpartum depression than an older mother and/or in a supportive environment.
History of depression
If the woman has had previous episodes of major depressive disorder, she is at greater risk for developing postpartum depression.
Previous pregnancy loss or other stressful life event
If the new mother has experienced any loss or if she experienced another type of traumatic or stressful event, she may be more likely to develop postpartum depression.
Having the baby's father involved in the pregnancy but not in parenting
If the man is hands-off and emotionally uninvolved with the pregnancy, it increases the mother's stress level and makes her more likely to develop postpartum depression.
History of premenstrual dysphoric disorder
If the woman has previously experienced extreme mood swings during the premenstrual stage of her cycle, she may be more likely to develop postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression is a treatable condition; however, it is estimated that 80 percent of new mothers do not receive treatment for PPD.
The good news is there are treatments for postpartum depression including talk therapy (psychotherapy) which can help identify what's causing the problem so it can be properly addressed; antidepressant medication; lifestyle changes such as diet modification and exercise; self-help resources such as books, websites, and support groups; as well as other therapies.
If you are struggling with these symptoms, please reach out to me for a confidential and free consultation.
You owe it to yourself and your baby to live a life free from fear and depression. I would love to hear from you.