What is Postpartum Depression?

Blog Home December 14 2019 Uncategorized
This image shows a women with a mental disease called postpartum depression

Being a mother is a dream of a woman. With the childbirth, body and mind goes through many changes. The confused emotions of the mother tempt anxiety and fear. And unexpected mental conditions lead to depression. These changes can give a good or bad effect on both mother’s and baby’s healthy life. The depression occur mothers physical emotional and behavioural changes after the birth called postpartum depression (PPD). This is a common mental disorder can be seen in mothers within one month after the delivery. According to DSM-5 (the manual used to diagnose mental disorders), postpartum depression is a form of major depression.

What is postpartum Depression mean?

The “postpartum” means after baby delivery. Most women experience with exessive sadness, worry, fear within two to four weeks after the baby birth and missed their daily activities also. This is a serious mental health condition that dominates her behaviour, emotions and physical health. Postpartum Depression can affect the mother as well as fathers. Around 10% of the new fathers are experiencing “PPD in men” and one in nine new mothers has postpartum depression. Though the exact cause of PPD is unclear, the cause is believed to be a combination of physical, emotional, genetic, and social factors.

Cause for the Postpartum Depression

There is no exact reason for the PPD. Hormonal changes, genetics, and major life events have been considering as potential causes.

Hormone changes – When you are pregnant, levels of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone are the highest more than previous. After the childbirth, these hormonal level decreases rapidly. So health professionals believe this rapid hormone change lead to depression. Thyroid hormone produced by a small gland in the neck also affects PPD. Low level of thyroid hormone causes depression. After the childbirth decrease thyroid hormone. All these hormone changes are affecting the Postpartum Depression.

Life changes – Changes in life that are caused by caring for the infant are also believed to cause Postpartum Depression. Not only to new mothers, but this will also affect mothers who have more children due to increasing their workload. Some mothers have no time to even self-care like sleeping, taking food and taking a bath. So they can’t fully recover after delivery. These physical discomforts and exhaustion also reason to Postpartum Depression.

Risk Factors

A number of factors have been suggested to increase the risk. here are those;

  • Have a personal or family history of depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder
  • Lack of family and social support
  • Stressful events experienced during pregnancy
  • Depressed pregnancy period
  • Economic Problems
  • Postpartum blues
  • Birth related to psychological trauma
  • Maternity age (below to 20years)
  • Unplanned or unwanted pregnancy
  • Have a baby with special needs
  • Smoking or substance abuse

Symptoms of Postpartum Depression

Symptoms of PPD can occur within the first year of delivery. The symptoms are the same as the mental and physical conditions which happening normal delivery. Poor sleeping pattern, fear, excessive fatigue common in these both situations. So, after the symptoms persisting for at least two weeks, considered diagnosing the PPD.

Emotional Symptoms

  • Exessive sadness, fear or worry
  • Guilty feelings
  • Hopelessness
  • Reject the baby
  • Uncomfortable feelings
  • Irritability, restlessness, anger
  • Mood swings
  • Feeling of inadequacy
  • Suicidal ideas

Behavioural Symptoms

  • Lack of interest
  • Loss of energy
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of libido
  • Poor self-care
  • Poor sleep
  • Social withdrawal

Cognitive Symptoms

  • Inability to make decisions
  • Poor memory
  • Poor concentration

Treatments for Postpartum Depression

If you think or understand having PPD you should meet a doctor. There are treatments available for PPD. Sometimes PPD may take several months or more to recover. The important thing before treatments is understanding the situation. Support of the husband, family and society absolutely needs for the mother cure faster. Understanding the patient reduce the isolation feeling and improve her confidence.

For mild to moderate PPD use psychotherapies and antidepressants and for moderate to severe conditions use a mixture of both psychological and medical treatments.

Psychological Therapies

This includes the help of a peer group, support of the family. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Interpersonal Therapy (IPT). Counselling and group therapy also important. Cognitive therapies are helpful to these patients to understand how to better manage the relationship between her thoughts and state of mind. Then her thoughts are positively changing. But in severe cases with depression, the most effective treatment method is a combination of both psychotherapy and the medications.


Antidepressants are prescribed to patients with severe PPD to balance the chemicals in the brain that affect the disease. These help to reduce the symptoms likewise irritability, hopelessness, concentration, and poor sleep. But it will take a few weeks to appear effectiveness. Antidepressants can be a move through breast milk. Medications which have a less adverse effect can be given because of antidepressants risk for the infant. According to studies imipramine and nortriptyline are the safest drugs to take while breast-feeding a baby.

The patients who cannot take Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) due to some medical conditions like heart disease may be prescribed a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), such as paroxetine or sertraline.

For a short time, benzodiazepines may be prescribed to postnatal psychosis, when the mother may have hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, and irrational behaviour.

Electroconvulsive Therapy

In more severe cases which not respond to other treatments may give ECT under the general anaesthetics. But benefits may short terms. Can occur side effects like headache and loss of memory.

Differential diagnosis

Postpartum Blue

Postpartum blue or baby blue is a mental condition characterized by mild depression, occurs after the delivery. The symptoms disappear within two weeks. This is a common condition that can see 80% of mothers. If symptoms may continue more than two weeks, it may character of depression.

Postpartum Psychosis

In this condition, symptoms of mania, depression, critical agitation, paranoia, lack of inhibition, delusions and hallucinations begin suddenly in the first two weeks after delivery. Occur in about 1 in a 1000 pregnancies. Need hospitalization and treatments. These patients have severe suicidal risks.


Postpartum depression is a mental disorder which needs treatments. Treatments are helped to cure the disease and reach your healthy life again. If you want to know more information regarding health follows helabeauty.info website.