Recognizing Postpartum Depression
As many as 70-80% of new moms get hit by the phenomena known as the baby blues- a feeling of weepiness, anxiety and sadness that can come along with the hormonal flux that occurs after giving birth. How do you know where the baby blues ends and full-blown postpartum depression, a clinical condition that also affects plenty of mothers, begins?
While the baby blues tend to dissipate within a few weeks after having your baby, postpartum depression is more persistent. It can occur anytime in the months after childbirth and rarely goes away without treatment of some kind.
The first step in recovery from postpartum depression is to recognize the problem and accept that help is needed. If you know the symptoms, picking up on the problem will be easier, and quicker treatment can lead to a faster return to the old you.
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Insomnia despite exhaustion
- Increased or decreased appetite
- Anxiety, excessive worrying and a feelings of panic
- Persistent feelings of hopelessness, sadness and guilt
- A feeling of inability to care for your baby or yourself
- Obsessive-compulsive thoughts or behaviors
- In more extreme cases, intrusive negative or destructive thoughts toward your baby
- Thoughts of suicide
What Can You Do?
Although suffering from postpartum depression can make you feel hopeless, help is out there. Your first step should be talking to your doctor, and reaching out to your partner, family and friends. Early motherhood is hard enough as it is, so extra support is essential if you’re struggling with depression.
Your doctor may suggest a form of talk therapy, which has been shown to be helpful. If medication is necessary then they can prescribe an antidepressant- there are medications that are relatively safe to take while breastfeeding so you shouldn’t need to stop nursing in order to begin the treatment.
Supplements, exercise and good nutrition could also help to improve your mood. Work with your doctor to put together a complete treatment plan and you should be on the road to recovery in no time.