What is Post Part Depression or PPD?
Postpartum depression means depression after child birth and many women experience the ‘baby blues’ and feel sadness or an empty feeling after they give birth. However this should only last 3-5 days, if you have depression, feeling flat, hopeless, anxious, experience panic attacks, feel unconnected to your baby or even feel like they are not yours for longer than 2 weeks you may have PPD.
How Common Is Post Partum Depression?
Postpartum depression also referred to simply as PPD, affects 1 in 9 women and is a serious mental illness that involves your brain and affects your emotional and physical health.
What are the Symptoms of Post Partum Depression?
Some of the common symptoms are listed below:
- Feeling restless or moody
- Feeling sad, hopeless, or overwhelmed
- Crying a lot
- Having thoughts of hurting the baby
- Having thoughts of hurting yourself
- Not having any interest in the baby, not feeling connected to the baby, or feeling as if your baby is someone else’s baby
- Having no energy or motivation
- Eating too little or too much
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Having trouble focusing or making decisions
- Having memory problems
- Feeling worthless, guilty, or like a bad mother
- Losing interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Having headaches, aches and pains, or stomach problems that don’t go away
What are the Risks of Post Partum Depression?
In rare cases women can develop Postpartum Psychosis, this is the most severe form of postpartum psycological illness. It affects 1 to 2 per 1000 women after childbirth. And symptoms arise as early as the first 48 to 72 hours after delivery. The majority of women with psychosis develop symptoms within the first two weeks. It is considered an episode of bipolar illness with rapid periods or elation and depression, delusions and hallucinations.
What causes Post Partum Depression?
The cause of PPD is not fully understood but it is believed to be attributed to the sudden changes of hormones that occur after childbirth. Estrogen and progesterone rise to the highest levels during pregnancy and fall suddenly to normal levels after birth, not unlike the changes that can be experienced before a woman’s period. Thyroid hormones may also drop after childbirth leading to feelings of depression and apathy.
What should you do if you have Post Partum Depression?
Untreated Postpartum Depression can lead to thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, not be able to care for your child, recurrent thoughts of death and suicide. Theses are serious and you should contact your doctor or paediatrician if you think you may have PPD.
We understand how difficult it is with a new born in the home when things are going well let alone if something like this take hold.
Author: Adrian Taricani
Registered acupuncturist, Evolve Natural Medicine
More about Adrian
M: 0491 738 260