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Postpartum Depression: Understanding Mental Health After Giving Birth

For many mothers, giving birth to a child is known for being one of the most memorable experiences in their lives. This isn’t a surprise when a mother will have to spend nine months taking care of herself and making sure that she’s ready to give birth when she goes into labor.

Before a mother gives birth to a baby, their body will go through various changes that are quite normal and natural. However, postpartum depression is far from normal in giving birth but is experienced by a lot of mothers worldwide. Based on certain studies, around 50% of mothers have experienced postpartum depression or have already been developing early symptoms of postpartum depression while still pregnant with their baby.

But what are the causes of postpartum depression? What can we do to address such a health complication? Here’s what you’ll need to know.

Postpartum Depression and Other Conditions

Normally, many people confuse the two, and it’s harder to discern whether a mother is having postpartum depression or just simply having mood swings. There is even a milder case of postpartum depression that is known as baby blues.

In most cases, a mother can experience various emotional distress, which can range from mood swings, sudden bouts of sadness, and emotional distance and emptiness right after they’ve given birth. Although, most of these symptoms will usually last a few days to at least half of a month after giving birth.

On the other hand, Postpartum depression is more serious and won’t just subside as most people think. This is a mental health condition that will last months to years if it is not addressed and treated properly. Unlike its milder versions, most mothers will feel strong negative moods, irritability to several external stimuli, and unbridled anger in some cases.

The milder versions of postpartum depression will normally go away. They won’t require much attention, but postpartum depression will require a good amount of attention, professional help, and sometimes even medication. It can be treated, but early symptoms will need to be addressed as soon as possible so that it won’t gain any “traction.”

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Causes Of Postpartum Depression

There’s really no main cause of postpartum depression, and a variety of different factors usually causes it. These involve changes in the experience of women throughout most of their pregnancy. The causes of postpartum depression include the following:

Changes in Hormones

When a mother becomes pregnant, their sex hormones (estrogen and progesterone) will drastically increase to support much of the body’s changes. For a woman that has already given birth, their hormones will go back to when they weren’t pregnant after the baby has been delivered.

Another known cause for depression is the plummet of the thyroid hormone right after giving birth. There are many hormonal levels and is usually similar to the same hormonal changes when a woman gets her period. Still, the postpartum-level hormones are known for being erratic.

Emotional Experiences

Most women who are already in the late stage of their pregnancy will need to rest and stop working for a while. Too much stress, lack of sleep, and even overwhelming emotions cause negative emotional experiences to pregnant women.

History Of Mental Health Disorder

Another known cause of postpartum depression is having a history of mental health disorders right before pregnancy. Most individuals who have been suffering from bipolar disorder will have a significantly high-risk factor than those that don’t have mental health complications.

It’s important to note that prevention is the best course of action when it comes to this situation. Fortunately, a bipolar disorder clinic can provide affordable consultations and private psychiatry services by licensed and vetted professionals. Getting professional help is one of the best ways of getting to the bottom of mental and emotional problems.

Preventive Measures and Treatments

There are various ways to treat postpartum depression (and depression in general). Here’s what can be done:

Psychotherapy – This is known for being an effective means of addressing the problem through the help and guidance of a psychiatrist. The process is relatively simple, with you talking to your patient and sharing your thoughts and feelings.

Medication – Another means of addressing postpartum depression is taking the right medication that has been prescribed by doctors. It’s important to note that if you are breastfeeding your baby, you will need to take specific antidepressants that will only have minimal side effects.

ECT – Electroconclusive therapy is used for more serious and chronic cases. This is usually known as electroshock therapy and would normally involve passing through electric currents into the person’s central nervous system to improve symptoms of psychosis.

There’s a common notion among many individuals that mental health illnesses such as depression and bipolar disorder are not as “serious” as physical health complications. In reality, postpartum depression and other mental health problems are real and quite serious. If left unchecked, this could wreak havoc on these mothers’ lives while causing irreversible damage to their mental health. Thus, it’s only important that we remain vigilant and informed when it comes to healthcare.

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