When you become a new mother, you might face many challenges. For example, you could deal with new responsibilities, lack of sleep due to the baby, or even breast pain. Besides these problems, a new mother might have some deep emotional hurts. However, these pains should not be confused with baby Blues that might go away after a week or two from delivery.
But you might feel countless emotions after you have your baby. Sometimes you may be filled with joy. At other times you may be all hopeless and sad. The problem comes when your sadness becomes severe, and you experience postpartum depression (PPD).
So if you think you are suffering from postpartum depression, you may not be alone. This is because, according to a study conducted on several thousand mothers with newborns, approximately one out of seven women in the US experienced postpartum depression. Hence, you could say that it is one of the common postpartum issues. Moreover, you may not only suffer from postpartum depression for the first time you become a mother. You could even get it when you give birth to your other children.
So when the feelings of sadness, frustration, agitation, and tiredness do not go away for about two weeks after your delivery, you might suffer from postpartum depression. If you think that you are facing issues like depression, then you should take help from a professional.
This is so because depression might lead to weight loss, which could be harmful to your body, especially if you want to breastfeed your newborn.
Now let us look at the other symptoms that the women might show if they suffer postpartum depression.
- 1 Symptoms Of Postpartum Depression
- 2 Causes Of Postpartum Depression
- 3 8 Ways To Cope With Postpartum Depression
- 4 Last Words On Postpartum Depression
- 5 Governmental Studies On Postpartum Depression
Symptoms Of Postpartum Depression
The symptoms of postpartum depression might not be the same for each woman. However, some of the common things you could look for if you are suffering from postpartum depression are
- You might feel hopeless, sad, anxious or overwhelmed.
- Some of the women might even cry a lot.
- You could get angry over petty issues or no matters at all.
- You might lose your interest in pursuing some activities that were earlier your hobbies.
- You may either eat a lot or eat too little.
- You might feel moody and blame yourself without any reason.
- You could even get scared, panicked or worried about no reason at all.
- You may not want to socialise with your friends or family.
- One of the symptoms is when you may sleep too much or too little.
- You may not feel attached to your baby.
- You may have trouble concentrating.
Some of the women might even face some serious symptoms, which occur rarely. Let us have a look at them.
- You may get negative thoughts of hurting your baby or even yourself.
- You may feel paranoid and might even hear voices or see things that are not there in reality. This could happen when you become suspicious and might not trust anyone.
This CDC article has talked in detail about symptoms, treatment, and risks involved with postpartum depression.
Causes Of Postpartum Depression
When you are pregnant, the hormonal levels in your body might rise. However, after delivery, these levels may fall drastically.
This quick change in the level of the hormones might make you feel Moody and trigger depression. This is just how the variations in the level of hormones affect your mood during your period.
Problems And Stress
Some of the new mothers might feel stressed after delivery. There could be different reasons for this stress. Say for example, when you do not want to be pregnant or your family and partner do not want to help you in caring for your baby.
Besides this, other reasons or problems could include financial issues, problems with alcohol or drugs, etc. Some of the women might be very young to take care of the body and hence, may stress on the same. All such problems that increase your anxiety might be some of the major reasons for postpartum depression.
Loss In Sleep
When you become a new mother, you might have an erratic sleeping schedule. This is because of your newborn child who might keep you up awake all night.
So getting less sleep might make you Moody and may even increase the risk of postpartum depression.
If you have a depression history or even if your family members have suffered from depression in the past, then you might be more likely to suffer from postpartum depression.
No matter what is the cause of your postpartum depression, you should get rid of it. The different methods that may help you to get rid of postpartum depression are mentioned below.
8 Ways To Cope With Postpartum Depression
According to different researches, one of the best methods of getting rid of postpartum depression may be to exercise. Hence exercise could serve as an antidepressant for women suffering from postpartum depression.
This does not mean that you may engage yourself in strenuous exercises like boxing or kicking. On the other hand, you could even go on a brisk walk with your baby in a stroller. This might help you to breathe fresh air.
According to a study published in mental health and physical activity, walking could be one of the best ways to treat depression. Besides walking, you might even work out for 10 minutes twice a day. But you may engage yourself in simple and short workouts that do not make you exhausted.
Physical activities could prevent postpartum depression, this has been concluded in this government paper as well.
Another effective method of treating your postpartum depression is to take out time for yourself. After delivery, you may not get time for yourself and you might be stuck in breastfeeding your baby all day on the couch.
You might even feel overwhelmed due to your work, household responsibilities, or taking care of your older children. So it is better if you do not take burden yourselves up with all these responsibilities and divide them with other members in the House. You could take the help of your mother in law for free babysitting or let your partner take care of your other children.
By doing so, you may take out time for yourself at least once a week. You can use this time to decompress by pursuing things that you like. Say, for example, you could go for a movie, take a nap, walk, do some yoga, meditation, etc. You may even pamper yourself with a massage or a spa treatment.
Once you have your baby, it is a great time to consume lots of omega-3 fatty acids like DHA. According to research, women who have low levels of DHA may be more likely to suffer from postpartum depression.
So you could get omega-3 fatty acids from seafood. Fish oils are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids. However, if you are a vegetarian then you may focus on flaxseed oil to get omega-3 fatty acids. You might even resort to taking some supplements from your local grocery store for omega-3 fatty acids.
According to this governmental paper, omega 3 found in fish showed really positive results when it comes to the prevention of postpartum depression.
Here is another study on the Omega 3 fatty acid in Postpartum depression.
Focus On A Healthy Diet
Though eating healthy food may not be able to cure depression alone, but it could be of some help. So you should focus on eating a healthy diet that consists of nutritious food. You could plan out your week’s meal according to the different nutrients and minerals provided by different sources of food. You may even focus on foods that are convenient to eat, like chopped carrots, peanut butter, apple slices, bananas or cubed cheese.
This 2020 article by PubMed talks more about the same.
Get Enough Rest
According to research conducted in 2009, the woman who slept less were likely to face the symptoms of depression. This particularly focused on the women who got less than four hours of sleep at night and even less than one hour of sleep during the day.
You might have heard that you should sleep whenever your baby sleeps. So you should go to bed early or take naps whenever the baby sleeps. You could even let your partner take care of the baby. If you are a breastfeeding mother then you may pump a bottle so that your partner could take care of the baby overnight.
Do Not Isolate Yourself
With a mix of emotions, you might even feel like isolating yourself sometimes after your delivery. According to a study published in the Canada Journal of Psychiatry, talking about your feelings with others could help to enhance your mood. Not only this, the table researchers have shown how the mothers who earlier experienced postpartum depression were relieved of the depression when they regularly spoke with others.
So you should also focus on resisting isolation and sharing your thoughts and feelings with your friends or family.
Here is more information on social support during postpartum depression.
Analyse Your Breastfeeding
According to a study conducted in 2012, breastfeeding could help to truncate the risk of suffering from postpartum depression.
This could even help you till the 4th month after delivery. So if you think helping your child through breastfeeding makes you feel good that you could try it.
More on breastfeeding and postpartum depression here.
Make An Appointment With Your Doctor
Even after trying the above methods, you may think that your feelings of agitation and sadness are getting worse and leading to chronic depression. You should always opt for medical help in such situations.
According to research, only 15% of the women opt for medical treatment when they sight symptoms of depression in them. Despite the importance of medical help, this figure is quite low. So you might always opt for medical help when you think that things might be going out of your hand.
Last Words On Postpartum Depression
So postpartum depression is treatable. Some of the women have even seen how their symptoms could improve in just six months. You could always call your doctor whenever you have different types of feelings and thoughts related to stress, anxiety and tension.
You could even join a support group where you may share your thoughts with different people. Your doctor might even suggest certain medicines to get rid of postpartum depression that are even safe to consume during breastfeeding.
You might want to refer to this governmental article for more information.