Women's Health

Postpartum Depression


It is a mood disorder that causes a continuous feeling of sadness, loss of pleasure, loss of interest in usual things, and a lack of focus. It may be accompanied by feelings of guilt, insignificance, and a lack of self-esteem. The disease affects feelings, thinking, and behavior, causing many emotional and physical problems, which in turn affect the performance of daily activities, despair of life and thinking of and possibly committing suicide in advanced cases.

Baby Blues
Many mothers get baby blues in the first days, about 2-3 days after giving birth, and it is temporary in many women, and it usually improves within a few days or one to two weeks without any treatment.

Symptoms of baby blues:
  • A change in mood.
  • Feeling sad, anxious and stressed.
  • Crying for no reason.
  • Difficulties sleeping, eating and making decisions.
Instructions for dealing with baby blues: 
  • Take enough sleep, and make sure to take a nap while the child sleeps.
  • Divide housework responsibility, and not assume the full responsibility.
  • Not being alone for a long time.
  • Receive support from the spouse, family members, and friends.
  • Playing sports.
  • Talking about what is being felt.
  • Maintaining a balanced diet.
  • Go out to enjoy fresh air.
Postpartum depression:
Symptoms of postpartum depression last longer than the baby blues, often beginning about 1-3 weeks after childbirth for up to a year, and are more severe, and require talking to a doctor when symptoms appear.

Reasons for postpartum depression:
It has no specific cause, but may occur as a result of a combination of several physical or psychological factors, including:
  • Changes in the level of hormones: Where estrogen and progesterone levels drop sharply in the hours after childbirth, so that the body returns to its normal state before pregnancy, which results in depression similar to postpartum depression.
  • Previous history of depression: Women who were depressed at any time — before, during, or after pregnancy — or who are currently being treated for depression have a higher risk of developing postpartum depression.
  • Emotional factors: If pregnancy is not planned or is unwanted, this may affect how she feels about the pregnancy and the fetus.
  • Fatigue: Many women feel very tired after giving birth. It may take weeks for them to regain their normal strength and energy. For those who have given birth by caesarean, it may take longer.
  • Lifestyle factors: A lack of support from others and stressful life events (such as recent death of a beloved one, family illness, or moving to a new city) can greatly increase the risk of developing postpartum depression.
Risk factors:
  • Pre-existing depression or any mental illness.
  • Having a family history of depression or any mental illness.​ Lack of support from family and friends.
  • Anxiety or negative feelings related to pregnancy.
  • Facing problems in a previous pregnancy or childbirth.
  • Having marital or financial problems.
  • Life stressors.
  • Childbearing at an early age.
  • Women who were depressed during pregnancy are more likely to develop postpartum depression.
Symptoms of postpartum depression:
  • Always feeling sad and in a bad mood
  • Loss of interest and enjoyment.
  • Feeling annoyed with the spouse, child or other children.
  • Lack of energy and feeling tired all the time
  • Difficulty sleeping at night and feeling sleepy during the day
  • Stay away from family members and friends.
  • Difficulty forming an emotional bond with the child.
  • Concentration and decision-making problems
  • Frightening thoughts (e.g., harming a child).
  • Feeling angry or irritable.
  • Negative thoughts (e.g., feeling unable to take care of a child).
  • Feelings of guilt, despair and self-blame.
  • Feeling anxious that something bad might happen to the child.
Preventing postpartum depression in women with a history of depression:
If a woman has a history of depression at any time in her life or if she is taking antidepressants, the doctor should be told early on if she wants to become pregnant, as it may be suggested to start treatment immediately after childbirth to prevent postpartum depression, but if she is taking antidepressants before pregnancy can be evaluated and help decide whether or not to continue taking the drug during pregnancy.

Tips for improving symptoms and helping to cope:
  • Talking to the spouse and friends or family about helping them understand what the woman is feeling and what they can do for support.
  • Accepting help from others (e.g. helping in child care) or performing tasks (e.g. housework, cooking, shopping).
  • Perform relaxing and enjoyable activities (such as walking, reading a book, or taking a warm shower).
  • Taking a nap and try to sleep whenever possible.
  • Exercising regularly to improve your mood.
  • Eating healthy and regular meals and do not go for long periods of time without eating.

Last Update : 07 June 2023 02:28 PM
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