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Peripartum depression

Bringing a new life into this world is often considered a joyous occasion, but many new moms experience it as a time of grief, hopelessness, and intense anxiety. For the health and wellbeing of both the mother and the child, it is important to understand the peripartum depression.

What is Peripartum Depression?

Depression that develops during pregnancy or right after giving birth is referred to as “peripartum depression”. The term “peripartum” acknowledges the fact that depression is related to having a baby and starts before, during, or immediately after giving birth.Most women feel that having a baby is a jumble of emotions, ranging from pleasure and excitement to fear and anxiety. But it may also lead to depression, which one might not expect. Around one in seven women can develop postpartum depression (PPD) following childbirth

After giving birth some new mothers might experience “baby blues” which commonly include mood swings, crying episodes, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping. Baby blues often begin two to three days after delivery and can last up to two weeks. This is not the same as postpartum depression, which is a more severe, chronic form of depression that some new moms may experience.

The good news is that peripartum depression is treatable. In the subsequent sections of this blog, we will discuss everything you need to know about Peripartum Depression, starting from its causes and symptoms to treatment and prevention options.

Bringing a new life into this world is often considered a joyous occasion, but many new moms experience it as a time of grief, hopelessness, and intense anxiety. For the health and wellbeing of both the mother and the child, it is important to understand the peripartum depression.

What are the symptoms of peripartum depression?

Peripartum depression symptoms include:

What are the causes of peripartum depression?

Hormonal changes: During pregnancy and after childbirth, there are substantial changes in hormone levels, including a rapid decrease in estrogen levels, which can contribute to mood changes, irritability, and other symptoms of depression.

Genetics: A family history of depression can increase the risk of peripartum depression. If your mother or sister experienced it, you may have a higher risk of developing it.

Life stressors: The physical, emotional, and lifestyle changes that come with motherhood can be overwhelming leading to depression.

Lack of social support: Lack of emotional support from family and friends, or a complicated relationship with a partner, can contribute to feelings of depression.

Psychological factors: Women who have a history of depression, or any other mental health issues are also at higher risk for peripartum depression.

Medical complications: Complications during pregnancy may increase the chances of developing peripartum depression.

"You are not the only one to experience this confining Crazy making her chaos within yourself."

Do new fathers experience postpartum depression?

New fathers can also experience postpartum depression. They face the same symptoms that peripartum depressed women encounter which includes feeling sad and fatigued, feeling anxious, or changing their regular eating and sleeping schedules.

Postpartum depression is most usually common among young dads, those with a history of depression, people who struggle with relationships, and people who are financially unstable. Postpartum depression in fathers ― sometimes called paternal postpartum depression ― can have the same negative effect on relationships and child development as postpartum depression in mothers can

What treatments are available for peripartum depression?

Many women may suffer in silence, dismissing their problems as a normal part of pregnancy and failing to get proper help. It’s important to receive treatment for depression throughout pregnancy and after childbirth. Better awareness and knowledge can lead to better results for mothers and their newborn babies.

One popular treatment option is psychotherapy. The American Psychological Association (APA) states that when depression is mild, psychotherapy without medication to be used as the first line treatment option. It can help address negative thoughts and behaviors that contribute to depression.

Another option is medication. Antidepressant medication can be effective in reducing symptoms of depression, but it's important to talk to your doctor before starting any medication

Self-help strategies can also be useful. These can include things like eating a healthy diet, and getting enough sleep, exercise, mindfulness, and relaxation techniques. Finally, having support from family and partners can help manage symptoms of depression and care for a newborn.

How to prevent peripartum depression?

Prevention of peripartum depression is important as it is easier to stop it than to cure it. Identifying high-risk women during pregnancy and post-delivery is the first step toward prevention (we will discuss it next). Healthy lifestyle changes such as getting regular exercise, eating nutritious meals, and getting enough sleep can be impactful. Adding self-care routines such as meditation or yoga can help reduce stress and anxiety levels.

Attending regular prenatal check-ups can help identify any risk factors for peripartum depression and provide early intervention if needed. Women who exhibit symptoms should be immediately referred for counseling to stop the progression of the depression. Learning about peripartum depression and its symptoms can help women recognize the signs early and seek treatment promptly.

Preparing for the challenges of motherhood, such as arranging for childcare or household help, can help women manage stress and avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Peripartum depression can be a tough experience but prevention and early intervention can help make it manageable. Women should not struggle alone, support groups such as family, friends, and mental health professionals are available to offer assistance.

symptoms of peripartum psychiatry
mothers taking risk

Who is at higher-risk?

Any new mother (or gestational carrier/surrogate) can experience symptoms of peripartum depression or other mood disorders. If a woman has had depression or another disorder in the past, or if it runs in her family, if she is going through other stressful life events in addition to her pregnancy, or if she lacks the support of family and friends, she is more likely to experience depression during or after pregnancy.

When should you see a doctor?

What are the effects of peripartum depression?

It should come as no surprise that peripartum depression can seriously harm the well-being of a new mom. Her immune system may become weakened by depression, making it easier for her to get sick. In addition, taking care of a baby can create additional stress, which can make everything seem overwhelming.

But it’s not just the mother’s health that is at risk – peripartum depression can also affect the baby’s health and development. The baby may experience delays in social and emotional growth. This is mainly due to the mother’s lack of emotional availability and disrupted bonding with the baby.

The economic impact of peripartum depression cannot be ignored either. The expense of treatment can be high, particularly for families who are already having financial difficulties. Peripartum depression can also strain social relationships, making it hard for mothers to socialize or seek emotional support.

Peripartum depression can have a significant negative influence on the relationships between families. Mothers who are depressed could feel shame or guilt towards their husband or kids. This may make the household tense and unpleasant, which makes it more difficult for everyone to get used to the new member.

It’s clear that peripartum depression has significant effects on the mother but the good news is that treatment options are available, and recovery is possible. If you are or your loved one is experiencing any signs of peripartum depression, get treatment as soon as you can. Keep in mind that there is hope for a better future and that you are not alone.

How friends, family, and partner may support a mother with peripartum-depression?

Recognize the Signs. Learn to see the symptoms of anxiety and depression, and if you notice them, suggest she visit a doctor.

Do not ignore Her. Let her know you want to hear her concerns.

Support Her. she must know that you are here to support her and that she is not alone. Consider offering to watch the child while she can rest or assist her with house chores.

Encourage her to get assistance if needed. She could feel uneasy and decide against asking for assistance. Encourage her to consult a medical professional.

Peripartum Psychiatry