According to the Mayo Clinic, more than 3 million women in the United States suffer from Postpartum Depression (PPD) annually. This may come as a surprise to new moms who thought they were alone in experiencing this long-term baby blues. The good news is, there are treatments for postpartum depression — that can help new mothers bounce back quickly.
In this article, we talk about the basics behind postpartum depression, who’s at risk, (and where to get help if you’re suffering from PPD symptoms after giving birth).
Postpartum Depression After Childbirth
Almost immediately after childbirth a woman’s estrogen and other hormone levels begin to plummet. This abrupt change in brain chemistry can be a factor in the development of postpartum depression in new mothers. Mood swings, anxiety, or depression symptoms can happen as a result. These mood swings are often a result of an issue related to psychology and the onset of postpartum depression.
The combination of a new mother not getting enough rest, learning how to breastfeed, change, and care for her new baby can have serious implications for the mother’s mental health — if left unchecked. When postpartum depression is the result of the overwhelming circumstances of having a new baby — many new moms aren’t aware of what is happening.
New moms often begin thinking that they are doing something wrong with the baby or think that they should somehow know more about how to handle the stress of the new baby. This usually isn’t the case. The more a new mother becomes overwhelmed and stressed — the greater the likelihood that she will develop PPD.
One of the most obvious symptoms that alerts new mothers to the presence of postpartum depression — is finding it difficult to bond with their baby. Postpartum depression has symptoms that look like other depressive disorders. Symptoms include apathy, sadness, loss of interest in pleasurable activities, and heightened anxiety. Many new moms don’t recognize the symptoms of PPD at first sight.
It may take an involved family member or trusted friend to notice that the new mom isn’t quite herself. The first few weeks of having a new baby can take a physical and emotional toll. It’s not uncommon for new mothers to feel overwhelmed and sadness or depression can develop as a result.
Who’s At Risk?
New moms who have recently given birth to a baby are at risk for developing postpartum depression. The risk for developing postpartum depression increases if the new mother has a history of experiencing depression in the past. People who have a history of depression should alert their medical doctor and mental health provider.
Alerting your health care team can help you to mitigate or prevent the symptoms of postpartum from developing. Having access to a reliable support system after giving birth is one of the best resources that new mothers can have to ward off symptoms of PPD.
How to Get Help
If you or someone you know is suffering from the symptoms of postpartum depression, contact your medical provider or mental health provider for support. Mental health and psychology professionals are now available online. This makes it even easier for new moms with babies to reach out for the help they need.
The most important thing for new moms to recognize is — you’re not doing anything wrong. Postpartum depression can develop as a result of many factors. These factors can include: traumatic childbirth, existing mental health disorders, socio economic issues — and beyond. Getting help from a licensed mental health professional is one of the best ways to combat postpartum depression. Having the advice and guidance of a licensed professional can help new mothers ease their minds and restore confidence.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.