Postpartum depression is a serious mood disorder that particularly develops after delivery or childbirth. Significant numbers of women after their delivery develop ‘baby blues’. It is a mild form of postpartum depression that occurs within few days after delivery. The symptoms fade away on its own without any specific treatment.
More serious form of postpartum depression often occurs several weeks after childbirth. At least 10 to 20 percent of women are affected with post partum depression.
The symptoms manifested with mild form (‘baby blues’) include sadness, fatigue, difficulty in sleeping, excessive flow of tears, and anxiety.They usually last for 10 to 12 days after delivery. Some women tend to have more lasting symptoms which may be longer than two to three weeks. These women should seek medical help.
Causes And Risk Factors For Postpartum Depression
Many factors together are involved in development of post partum depression. This may include physical changes that take place during pregnancy due to hormones, sleep deprivation and other emotional factors, together with various other factors associated with living condition of women.
Women who are more at risk of suffering from post partum depression are those with previous history of such episode.Women with past history of anxiety disorder are also at risk. With following factors the risk of post partum depression increases.
- Previous history of post partum depression.
- Woman suffering in the past with premenstrual syndrome.
- Woman with low self esteem.
- Lack of sleep.
- Some stressful event during post partum period such as death of some relative etc.
- Lack of support from the partner. Discord between the couple.
- The child born with physical problem.
- Financial problem in house.
- Woman may not be ready for pregnancy as it is unplanned or unwanted.
Signs And Symptoms Of Postpartum Depression
The symptoms of post partum depression may be different in mild form and those of severe form.
Symptoms of mild post partum depression or “baby blues” are:
- Frequent change in mood.
- Patient remains sad throughout the day.
- Crying for no reason. Woman starts crying for minutes and hours without any substantial reason.
- Lack of concentration.
- Difficulty while sleeping.
In the severe form of post partum depression the symptoms last for many weeks and even months. In some cases they even develop after few weeks of delivery. These symptoms may interfere in mother’s daily life as well as daily care of the newborn.
Post partum depression symptoms are as follows:
- Excessive anger and irritation.
- Loss of appetite.
- Disturbed sleep.
- Loss of interest from daily activities.
- Weight gain or weight loss.
- Excessive fatigue.
- Behavioral changes involving withdrawal from society, family members etc.
The most severe form is called post partum psychosis in which the patient tends to commit suicide or harm the child or family members.
Natural Remedies To Deal With Postpartum Depression
Most cases related to severe form of post partum depression need medical intervention. However, certain home remedies and change in lifestyle often helps in recovery of the disease.
- Go for a walk with the baby as it will make you feel more relaxed.
- Eat diet that is healthy and nutritious. Avoid alcohol and cigarette smoking.
- Avoid staying alone.
- Keep your thoughts positive.
- Express your feelings with your spouse or a friend in whom you trust when you feel depressed.
- Patient needs support from family member during this period.
- Natural remedy for depression such as St. John’s Wort is found extremely beneficial in cases of depression. Therefore this herb may be useful even in post partum depression.