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Postpartum Depression: Definition



Postpartum Depression


Giving birth might be sometimes mentally and physically draining. The human body accepts the alterations it must undergo in order to conceive, but it does so with a number of negative consequences. When a new mother is physically separated from her infant, she is more likely to develop Postpartum Depression. It’s a very prevalent mental illness that has an impact on a mother’s well-being.

Postpartum Depression: Definition

The sadness or despair that follows childbirth is known as postpartum depression. After giving delivery, most women experience sadness or emptiness, which is referred to as “postpartum.” It’s normal to feel that way for a few days, but if it persists, you’re more than likely suffering from PPD.

According to CDC research, one out of every ten women in the United States suffers from serious depression, and one out of every eight women suffers from PPD. The technique used to estimate the number of women experiencing the symptoms is a Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System.

There’s a distinction to be made between Postpartum Depression and Perinatal Depression. PD refers to depression that originates during pregnancy, despite the fact that both are kinds of depression.

Postpartum Depression: Causes

PPD can be caused by several factors. Some of the most important are:

  • Hormone levels: After birth, estrogen and progesterone levels drop dramatically. Because the drop is so abrupt and so low, it may create depression.
  • Previous mental health issues, such as depression, prior to conception
  • Emotional and personal factors, as well as the postpartum adjustment
  • Events that generate stress and burnout, as well as family diseases, are examples of lifestyle and environmental influences.

Postpartum Depression: Early Warning Signs and Symptoms

PPD is a kind of depression; therefore the symptoms are similar but vary depending on the situation. After childbirth, you may experience the following:

Loss of pleasure in the things you enjoy

This includes multiple aspects. It can be a hobby, your job, or even your studies. You might also feel disconnected from the things you usually do and find no pleasure during your day.

Sadness, uncontrollable crying

If you feel like you’re repeatedly crying and cannot seem to stop, it might be a warning sign that’s telling you to check in with a doctor. Don’t ignore it

Anxiety or panic attacks

Panic episodes almost never have a trigger. Anxiety is a reaction to a perceived threat. A panic attack’s symptoms are strong and disturbing. They are frequently accompanied by a sense of “unreality” and alienation. Anxiety attacks are usually milder than panic attacks. Anxiety attacks can also strike without warning, but they are frequently linked to a trigger.

Sleeping disorders: not sleeping or sleeping too much

Too little sleep was defined as four hours or less per night, while too much sleep was classified as ten hours or more per night. The recommended amount of sleep per night is seven hours. Insomnia is a frequent sleep problem that makes it difficult to fall asleep, stay asleep, or cause you to wake up too early and be unable to sleep again. When you wake up, you can still be exhausted.

Changes in weight whether it’s to gain or lose weight

Including the weight of the baby, placenta, and amniotic fluid, most women lose roughly 13 pounds during childbirth. You’ll lose more weight in the first week following delivery as the trapped fluids are released. When the changes in your weight become abnormal, make sure to look into it.

Excessive feelings of guilt

Mom guilt is the overwhelming sense that you are not doing enough as a parent, that you are not doing things correctly, or that you are making decisions that will “mess up” your children in the long run. It’s possible that it is only transitory. It could also be for a longer period of time. Some mothers feel a sense of dread or a weight on their shoulders, while others feel panicked as if they must solve the problem immediately.

Having recurrent thoughts of death about oneself or the baby

And perhaps one of the most dangerous of all. If you even think about death in that context, getting help immediately is crucial.

Postpartum Depression: Effects

PPD is a complicated mix of physical, mental, and behavioural changes that some women experience after having a baby. Below, we discuss both short and long-term effects.

Short-Term Effects

Short-term effects include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Confusion
  • Insomnia
  • Memory troubles
  • Paranoia
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Severe mood swings
  • Loss of appetite

Long-Term Effects

If PPD goes untreated, the following can happen:

  • Inappropriate child upbringing
  • Attempts at suicide
  • Loss of energy

Postpartum Depression: Types

In the days following childbirth, up to 70% of women experience the “baby blues.” You may have abrupt mood fluctuations, such as feeling extremely happy and then extremely depressed. You may cry for no apparent cause and experience feelings of impatience, irritability, restlessness, anxiety, loneliness, and sadness. The newborn blues can persist anywhere from a few hours to up to two weeks following delivery. For the most part, you won’t require medical help if you have baby blues.

Postpartum depression (PPD) can strike days, weeks, or even months after a baby is born. PPD can strike at any time following the birth of a child, not just the first. You can experience feelings that are comparable to the baby blues, such as grief, despair, anxiety, and crankiness, but they are far more intense. PPD frequently prevents you from doing the things you need to do on a daily basis. Despite the fact that PPD is a serious disorder, it can be managed with medication and counselling.

Postpartum psychosis is a potentially fatal mental disease that can strike new moms. This sickness can strike suddenly, commonly during the first three months after a baby is born. Women can experience auditory and delusions, losing touch with reality. Visual hallucinations are less prevalent than auditory hallucinations. Insomnia, agitation, restlessness, and unusual feelings and actions are some of the other symptoms. Women with postpartum psychosis require immediate care and almost invariably require medication.


Q) What is PPD?

A) PPD is a complex mix of physical, emotional, and behavioural changes that occur in some women after giving birth. PPD is a type of major depression that begins within 4 weeks of delivery, according to the DSM-5, a manual used to diagnose mental disorders.

Q) Is PPD a chemical imbalance?

A) Postpartum depression (PPD), like other types of depression, is frequently associated with a neurotransmitter imbalance. Many new mothers suffering from PPD have low serotonin or norepinephrine levels in the brain, which are exacerbated by nutritional deficiencies.

Q) Is there a difference between postpartum and postnatal depression?

A) Yes. The terms “postpartum period” and “postnatal period” are frequently used interchangeably, but also separately, with “postpartum” referring to issues concerning the mother and “postnatal” referring to those concerning the baby.

Q) Is there a difference between PPD and baby blues?

A) There is a significant difference between baby blues and postpartum depression (PPD). The timeframe in which symptoms appear is frequently the distinguishing factor because baby blues should subside after a few weeks whereas PPD can last a year or longer.

Q) Can I take antidepressants for PPD?

A) Such treatment is to be discussed with your doctor. Your doctor will most likely discuss with you whether you want to see a counsellor. They may also suggest that you take antidepressants, which are medications that treat depression and should help you feel more like yourself.


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