In our culture postpartum depression is a foreign psychological condition. Many mothers lack the knowledge about it and as a result suffer without anyone understanding and helping their condition. Decades ago, people used to believe a new mother may lose her sanity if left alone or without any weapon to fight against bad spirits that may haunt her.  Many elderly people still believe that such haunting by ghosts happen to a new mother. This is when many informed as well as uninformed people misunderstand and underestimate the vulnerable psychological condition of a new mother. Lets us examinehow science explains the new mother's susceptible psychological condition called Postpartum Depression.

What it post partum Depression?

Postpartum depression (PPD) is temporary depression related to pregnancy and childbirth. It comes in two forms: early onset, commonly referred to as the "baby blues," and late onset. The early onset type is mild and may affect as many as 80% of women after they deliver. It starts after delivery and usually resolves within a couple of weeks without medical treatment. The later onset form is what most people think of as postpartum depression. This more severe form is usually recognized several weeks after delivery. Overall, it affects about 10%-16% of women.

Symptoms of mild PPD include sadness, anxiety, tearfulness, and trouble sleeping. These symptoms usually appear within several days of delivery and go away 10 to 12 days after the child birth. Usually the only treatment needed is reassurance and some help with household chores and care of the baby. About 20% of women who have postpartum blues will develop more lasting depression. It is very important to let your health care provider know if you experience "blues" that last longer than two weeks.

Symptoms of Postpartum Depression:

Symptoms of postpartum depression (PDD) can be divided into three categories:

Postpartum blues ("baby blues"): Very short in duration, may not require formal treatment but supportive care only.

Postpartum depression: Lasts longer, is more debilitating, and requires medical care.

Postpartum psychosis: Most severe form, requires aggressive psychiatric care.

There are many possible symptoms of postpartum depression, including the following:

·         Inability to sleep or sleeping longer than normal.

·         Changes in appetite

·         Extreme concern and worry about the baby or absence of interest or feeling for the baby

·         Feeling unable to love the baby or one's family

·         Anger toward the baby, your partner, or other family members

·         Anxiety or panic attacks

·         Fear of harming your baby; these thoughts may be obsessive, and you may be afraid to be left alone in the house with your baby.

·         Irritability

·         Sadness or excessive crying

·         Difficulty concentrating or remembering

·         Feelings of doubt, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, or restlessness

·         Lethargy or extreme fatigue

·         Loss of interest in hobbies or other usual activities

·         Mood swings marked by exaggerated highs and lows

·         Feeling emotionally numb

·         Numbness or tingling in your arms or legs

·         Hyperventilating

·         Frequent calls to the pediatrician with inability to be reassured

·         Recurrent thoughts of death, which may include thinking about or even planning suicide

·         Obsessive-compulsive thoughts and behaviours that are intrusive

·         You should see a doctor If you have symptoms or signs of depression that have lasted longer than two weeks after childbirth or that began within two months of giving birth.

·         You may need to get immediate emergency help if you have either of the following symptoms:

·         You have hallucinations and delusions about yourself or your baby;

·         You have thoughts about hurting yourself or your baby.

·          Suicidal thoughts or attempts (intent or attempt to kill oneself) and homicidal thoughts or attempts (intent or attempt to kill another person) are very serious and are real risks of postpartum depression. These symptoms are not a myth or imaginary, and several cases have been well publicized. Seek immediate medical care if you have suicidal or homicidal thoughts.

How Can I Prevent Postpartum Depression?

Because postpartum depression (PPD) may be related to fluctuation of hormones after childbirth, prevention may not be possible. However, several approaches may help guard against the condition. One of the best things to do is learn as much as you can about what to expect physically and psychologically during pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood. This may help you develop realistic expectations for yourself and your baby. Take a childbirth education class. Also, talk to other pregnant women and new mothers about their experiences.

Women who have a history of depression may be at higher risk for developing PPD, and women who develop depression before or during their pregnancy may experience ongoing symptoms after delivery.

Once you've given birth, get help from supportive friends and family, but limit visitors so that they don't overwhelm you. Don't be too concerned with tasks that don't absolutely have to be done. Take frequent naps to stay invigorated, eat a healthy diet and get regular exercise. Don't give up your previous interests -- stay involved in outside interests that you had before the baby came along. 


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