There’s nothing more exciting and joyous than having a baby. But, for up to 20% of women, the toll it takes on their body, sleep schedule, and lifestyle can trigger feelings of anxiety, sadness, and despair. If these feelings don’t lift after about two weeks, it could be a sign of postpartum depression.
The board-certified OB/GYN providers at Southern Crescent Women’s HealthCare in Fayetteville, Newnan, and Stockbridge, Georgia, specialize in keeping women healthy before, during, and after pregnancy. And that includes postpartum depression care.
If you’re worried about postpartum depression or think you may be suffering from the condition, take a moment to learn more about it and the treatments that can help you feel better.
Postpartum depression (PPD), technically called peripartum depression, describes depression that can occur during or after you have a baby. This mood disorder can impact your physical, mental, and emotional well-being, and it can even affect the way you behave.
Some women with PPD find it challenging to manage their day-to-day routine and responsibilities, including caring for their infant. Postpartum depression can also cause issues with sleeping, eating, and sex drive.
Because of the major hormonal changes and lack of sleep associated with having a baby, many new mothers experience the “baby blues,” a brief period of sadness, crying jags, restlessness, anxiety, and irritability. These symptoms typically go away after 1-2 weeks and don’t require medical intervention.
Postpartum depression is not the same as the baby blues. Postpartum depression causes more intense feelings of despair, anxiety, or sadness that don’t resolve on their own. This serious mental health condition typically begins 1-3 weeks after giving birth, but it’s possible to develop PPD at any time up to one year after childbirth.
Researchers believe that the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy and childbirth may trigger PPD. During pregnancy, estrogen and progesterone levels are at their highest. But within 24 hours of giving birth, they drop rapidly to pre-pregnancy levels.
Scientists have also found that changes in thyroid hormones associated with childbirth can also contribute to PPD. When the levels of thyroid hormones get too low, you can develop depression.
Postpartum depression may not be caused by hormonal changes alone, however. Other factors can contribute too, such as the following:
All of these issues and others can contribute to PPD.
Every woman experiences mood changes after having a baby. This can make it challenging to recognize the signs of the disorder. Normal mood-related symptoms associated with childbirth include sleep troubles, appetite changes, fatigue, mood swings, and a lack of interest in sex. These should begin to lift 1-2 weeks after childbirth.
Women with PPD typically experience these symptoms, but they don’t go away on their own and can get worse. In addition to the feelings described above, other signs of PPD may include:
In addition, you may start to question your ability to be a mother, feel like you’re a “bad” mother, or question whether your baby is really your child.
The best thing to do if you’re worried about PPD is to share your feelings with your OB/GYN. Some women with PPD feel ashamed or embarrassed by the feelings and thoughts they’re experiencing, so they don’t share them with their health care providers or family members.
But talking to your OB/GYN provider is important, as they can help you overcome the symptoms of PPD and begin to feel like yourself again. If you’ve noticed any of the signs of PPD, schedule an appointment with your Southern Crescent Women’s HealthCare provider as soon as possible.
Because each woman is different, each case of PPD may require different types of treatment. Our team offers specialized postpartum care that’s customized to meet your unique needs. Some common therapies include:
If you think you have postpartum depression, don’t wait to get help. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Southern Crescent Women’s HealthCare today.