Postpartum depression is any moderate to severe depression that develops in a woman following the birth of a child. It can develop shortly after the birth has occurred or it can sometimes take as long as one year to manifest. It most often develops within the first three months following the baby’s birth.
Most women experience certain mood changes while they are pregnant, which is entirely normal. This mood change can become pronounced just after a baby has been delivered and are most mostly related to fluctuations in hormone levels. It is important to know. However, other, non-hormonal issues can also affect a woman’s mood after she has had a baby. These include things such as differences in the way in which she perceives her body image, changes in her work and social relationships, the often extended sleep disturbances she is experiencing because of the middle of the night feedings and the experience of having significantly less time to devote to herself on a daily basis. Some women experience worry a great deal about how they will perform or function as a new mother, and this can lead to a severe increase in anxiety levels.
The symptoms of postpartum depression are very closely related to those of major depression. Most women who are experiencing postpartum depression feel very sad and can not explain why. Some women might become very agitated and irritable. Others experience severe disruptions to their appetite. Women have the feeling of extreme guilt or a sense of worthlessness and stop being able to take pleasure in things that used to interest them a great deal in the past. Other women report trouble with their concentration or problems with their sleep patterns that are not related to their new infant. Other women begin to experience very negative feelings toward their new baby or might even start to think about suicide or death.
As a new mother if you experience any of the above symptoms then it may be postpartum depression, and you should seek help as quickly as possible. It is important to know that some measures can help you overcome the depressive symptoms and return to your normal life again:
• Getting as much rest as possible, sleeping when the baby sleeps;
• Enlisting the help of the significant other and family members with household chores;
• Hiring a helper for a few hours a day
• Getting in touch with a support group