Pregnancy and birth can be an especially vulnerable time for women. It is not uncommon for new mothers to feel sad or anxious during pregnancy and after giving birth — a phenomenon called “baby blues.” But when baby blues interferes with daily life and lasts longer than two weeks, it may be a sign of postpartum depression.
What Is Postpartum Depression?
Between 50 and 75% of all new mothers experience some degree of the baby blues. Biological, emotional, social, and financial changes can leave moms feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and sad — especially while adjusting to life with a new baby. The baby blues typically resolves itself within a week or two.
Postpartum depression (PPD) is often confused for the baby blues, except that postpartum depression doesn’t go away on its own. Furthermore, the symptoms of PPD are more intense, can interfere with day-to-day life, and can make it difficult to care for your baby.
Common Signs & Symptoms
Postpartum depression is marked by feelings of intense anxiety and sadness that last for longer than two weeks. Symptoms usually appear during pregnancy, but generally develop within the first few weeks after giving birth, and can last for up to a year. Other signs and symptoms of PPD include:
- Severe mood swings
- Excessive crying
- Appetite changes, including eating more than usual or loss of appetite
- Intense anger and irritability
- Loss of energy and overwhelming fatigue
- Inability to think clearly or concentrate
- Severe anxiety that may include panic attacks
- Thoughts of hurting your baby or yourself
- Feeling worthless, inadequate, or ashamed
- Difficulty bonding with your baby
Causes of Postpartum Depression
There is a common misconception that only first-time mothers can develop postpartum depression. However, PPD can develop after the birth of any child — and even fathers can develop PPD. A number of factors contribute to developing postpartum depression.
Physical changes: during pregnancy and childbirth, hormones like estrogen and progesterone fluctuation. After delivery significant drops in these hormones, as well as other hormones produced by the thyroid, can contribute to PPD.q
Emotional issues: sleep deprivation can lead to feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Additionally, pregnancy takes a toll on the body and can leave new moms feeling unattractive or struggling with their sense of self-worth. It is not uncommon to feel a loss of identity during the transition into parenthood.
There is an increased risk of developing postpartum depression if any of these factors are present:
- A history of depression
- Previous instances of PPD
- Bipolar disorder
- Multiple (i.e. twins, triplets) birth
- Environmental stress, such as financial or relationship difficulties
- Major life events, like job changes, moving, or the death of a loved one
- Thyroid imbalance
- Lack of support network
- Unplanned or unwanted pregnancy
- Baby has special needs
- Pregnancy complications
Types of Treatment for PPD
Each woman who struggles with postpartum depression is impacted in a unique way, and responds to treatment differently. Fortunately, postpartum depression responds well to treatment. Individualized treatment plans may consistent of one or a combination of:
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
- Motivational interviewing
- Individual, group, and family sessions
- Experiential therapies
Occasionally, certain prescription medications may be recommended to ease some of the symptoms of postpartum depression.
Postpartum Depression Treatment in West Palm beach
Some new parents with postpartum depression try to soldier through their symptoms and don’t seek care. However, you do not have to suffer in silence alone. If you are struggling with PPD and would like to begin the treatment process, Neuroscience Institute is here to help. Our compassionate and understanding multidisciplinary team is ready to work with you to help you overcome PPD. Contact us today to find out more about postpartum depression treatment in West Palm Beach.