Having a baby is typically viewed as a wonderful, happy event in a woman’s life. About one in ten women who are up to 12 months postpartum (after giving birth) experience symptoms of depression and other mood disorders. Of course, people with a history of depression are more likely to experience Post Partum Depression (PPD) but other risk factors include stress, poor social and financial support, young age, single marital status, negative body image, sleep disturbances and difficulty breastfeeding, just to name a few.
So there are many factors that may lead to someone being depressed after having a baby or even during pregnancy. Genetics and hormonal changes may be the underlying factors but there is no clear understanding of the mechanism that leads to this disease. However, it is important for everyone to understand that it is a disease.
Sometimes it is difficult to know if one is suffering from postpartum depression. Pregnancy and the postpartum period is a stressful time and the symptoms of depression are often confused as normal for new mothers. You may suffer from difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much, extreme fatigue or too much energy. You may also feel angry, anxious, overwhelmed and unable to care for yourself or your baby. If you are overwhelmed for any of these reasons you need to immediately speak to your doctor.
If you think that you are going to harm yourself, the baby, or someone else, call for help immediately. Call 911 or go the nearest emergency room. You can also take the first step by calling the National Suicide Prevention line: 1.800.273.8255, or go to their website: www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org . A skilled, trained crisis worker who works at the crisis center closest to you will answer the phone, listen to you, understand how your problem is affecting you, and provide support.
Finally, if you think someone you know has PPD don’t be shy about it; speak to them and their family about getting help. You can also call the hotline to get advice on how to help.
Maternal Fetal Medicine blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace certified professional care. Medical conditions vary and change frequently. Please ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your condition to receive a proper diagnosis or risk analysis. Thank you!