Postpartum Depression is a common issue after a woman delivers her babies. Although a lot has been said and discussed this, still this issue is considered as a taboo and not many women are encouraged to talk about it.

What is postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression is a temperament disorder that affects women after childbirth. The usually symptoms or signs are extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion. These make it difficult for mothers to finish their daily care activities for themselves or for family members.

Postpartum depression can begin as soon as after the birth of the child or may also be a continuation of antenatal depression and needs to be treated. The worldwide occurrence of postpartum depression has been projected as 100‒150 per 1000 births.

Postpartum depression in women is inclined towards chronic or recurring depression, which might affect the newborn child and his mother relationship. Also, in some cases, it has been found that it affects the child growth and development. Children of mothers with postpartum depression have a higher chance of behavioural, intellectual and personal difficulties compared to the children of non-depressed mothers. It also has been found that moms who are depressed are more probable not to breastfeed their babies and also not pursue health care properly.

Some more signs of postpartum depression are –

  • Having trouble bonding or forming an emotive attachment with her baby
  • Retreating from or avoiding friends and family
  • Eating too little or too much
  • Feeling moody, irritable, or restless
  • Upsetting or feeling overly anxious
  • Oversleeping, or being unable to sleep even when her baby is asleep
  • Having trouble remaining focused, memorizing details, and making decisions
  • Losing interest in activities that are usually enjoyable
  • Suffering from physical aches and pains, recurrent headaches, stomach problems, and muscle pain
  • Doubtful of her ability to care for her baby
  • May also think about harming herself or her baby.

How can postpartum depression be diagnosed?

Only a doctor or psychiatrist is in a condition to diagnose a woman with postpartum depression. The symptoms of this condition are varied and differentiate from one woman to another. The family members or any woman who is suffering from any of these experiences should meet and consult a doctor as soon as possible.

How is postpartum depression treated?

There are effective treatments for postpartum depression.

1) Medication: Antidepressant medications act on the brain chemicals that are involved in mood regulation.

2) Interpersonal therapy (IPT), which helps people comprehend and work through difficult personal relationships.

3) Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which helps people identify and change their negative opinions and behaviours

The above-mentioned treatments can be used alone or together.

What will happen if postpartum depression is left untreated?

Without treatment, postpartum depression can last for months or even years. It is essential that a woman is rightly diagnosed and treated before its too late.

How can you help a new mother?

Family members and friends are the first to recognize symptoms in a new mother. You should encourage her to talk with a doctor, suggest them emotional support, and support them with daily tasks such as caring for the baby or the home. Try and pamper them and make them feel special.