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What is Postpartum Depression? Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Although the birth of a baby is a very emotional affair for families, some mothers may experience an inexplicable and intense feeling of sadness afterwards that lasts for a long time. Today we want to take a closer look at this topic and talk about how to recognize and treat postpartum depression.

According to a study by the Autonomous University of Barcelona, this type of depression affects 10-15% of women. Just because a woman is wanting a baby and planning her pregnancy doesn’t mean she can’t get puerperal depression.

The sudden drop in hormones that occur in the body after birth can trigger this condition. However, that’s not the only factor that can contribute.

However, one of the most difficult aspects of postpartum depression can be dealing with social and family biases. Because although it is a common problem, there are still many people who dismiss and misunderstand this ailment. As a result, many women suppress their emotions in order to appear in a good mood and happy. Let’s go a little deeper.

What is Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression is a mood disorder that usually occurs after birth or two to three months later. It is characterized by extreme sadness, a feeling of physical and mental exhaustion, anxiety and general malaise. These symptoms can last for weeks to months.

At first glance, it is easy to mistake this disorder for postnatal sadness. The difference, however, is that symptoms of postpartum depression are more intense and long-lasting. They also affect the baby’s ability to care for the baby and perform everyday tasks.

Affected women often have great difficulty building a bond with their children. And all of this on top of feeling like worthless and not a good mother.

Many women are ashamed of how they feel and do not seek help. A major reason for this is the social view of the birth of a baby as a time of joy and enthusiasm. However, it is important to realize that there is no one right way to deal with motherhood. This is why it is important to ask for help when we are not doing well.

Symptoms of postpartum depression

As mentioned earlier, it can be difficult to distinguish between postpartum depression and a simple response to the exhaustion and stress of motherhood. However, when a state of intense sadness and despair occurs, one can begin to consider such a disease. Some of the main symptoms are the following:

  • Feelings of sadness, emptiness and hopelessness.
  • Intense and prolonged crying without knowing why.
  • Loss of interest in activities that used to be fun.
  • Excessive worry about this new phase.
  • Inability to bond with the baby.
  • Difficulty sleeping and drowsiness.
  • Loss of appetite or overeating due to anxiety.
  • Feeling excessive guilt or uselessness.
  • Restlessness or indolence.
  • Loss of concentration and difficulty making decisions.
  • Constant irritation or anger.
  • Social and family isolation.
  • Disinterest in taking care of the baby.
  • The feeling of being very tired and unable to get out of bed.

How do you treat postpartum depression?

How long postpartum depression will last is difficult to say. In most cases, however, it will improve within a few weeks. In any case, doctors say it’s important to treat postpartum depression early to prevent symptoms from getting worse.

Treatment for postpartum depression is similar to any other type of depression. However, before resorting to medication, doctors usually recommend psychotherapeutic sessions, especially if the mother is breastfeeding the child.

Psychotherapy can take place individually or in a group. It may be advisable to conduct family therapy in order to work together with the partner or individual close relatives.

In addition, it will be necessary for the mother to have a good rest and eat healthy. Establishing healthy habits will help improve your mood and reduce the risk of relapse.

Prevention strategies

Since there are several factors that can lead to postpartum depression, it’s difficult to say whether it’s preventable. However, if you consider certain aspects before and after the birth, you can minimize the risk. Some positive actions are the following:

  • Get enough sleep each day and try to rest when you need to.
  • Seek support from other mothers who have been through the same situation.
  • Go for a walk every day and take advantage of light exercise: running or stretching.
  • Do not compare yourself to others.
  • Reduce your household chores. Now is not the time to make everything shine.
  • Postpone visits so you can rest.
  • Eat foods that improve your state of mind.
  • Drink more water and healthy drinks (juices, broths, infusions).
  • Make time for your relationship with your partner.
  • Finding distractions (shopping, watching a movie, having dinner with the family).
  • Practice relaxation methods like deep breathing.
  • Work on your self-esteem.
  • Dissolve your doubts about motherhood.

Do you think you have some of the symptoms of postpartum depression? Don’t ignore them! Even if you worry about what others might think, you need help to overcome postpartum depression. If you suppress your feelings, it can get worse over time.

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