Recognizing Postpartum Depression

by Catherine Rein
(last updated April 22, 2009)

Postpartum depression is different from the "blues." A down emotional period after the birth of a child is quite common and is due to the change in hormone levels. Depression is a serious mental illness that can greatly interfere with daily activities and prevent a mother from being able to take care of herself or her baby. Doctors believe about 13 percent of new mothers experience postpartum depression

You can recognize postpartum depression in yourself or in your loved ones if they are feeling sad, hopeless or overwhelmed after the birth of a child and if these symptoms don't go away for more than two weeks.

  • Symptoms. Other symptoms of postpartum include crying a lot, having little to no energy, having trouble making decisions and losing pleasure in activities you use to enjoy. Other symptoms may include having memory problems, withdrawing from friends and family and having physical symptoms such as headache, fatigue or stomach problems that don't go away.
  • Causes. There does not appear to be one single cause of postpartum depression. Hormonal changes may be one culprit. After giving birth, your hormones of estrogen and progesterone quickly return to pre-pregnancy levels. This dramatic change may kick off the symptoms of depression. Levels of thyroid hormones may also be to blame. The thyroid is a gland in the neck that regulates how the body uses and stores food energy. Depression can result from low levels of thyroid in the blood.
  • Treatments. Support therapy is the most common treatment for postpartum depression. Talking to a therapist, psychologist or social worker can help you understand your mood changes and how depression can affect how you feel and act. Medication is also available. Antidepressants can help relieve symptoms of depression.

To combat postpartum blues and head of postpartum depression, try to rest as much as you can and ask for help from your partner or family. You should consider joining a support group or group of mothers to be able to discuss your feelings and learn from others' experiences. Avoid making any major life changes right after giving birth.

You might be more susceptible to postpartum depression if you have a family history of depression or another mental illness, if you've suffered with anxiety or stress about the pregnancy, marriage or money problems or if you suffered with similar problems with a previous pregnancy or birth. Postpartum depression is also more likely to hit young mothers and those people without a strong support system of family and friends.

Author Bio

Catherine Rein

MORE FROM CATHERINE

Signs of Diabetes

Signs of diabetes include increased thirst, frequent urination, extreme hunger and weight loss. If you suffer from diabetes ...

Discover More

Differences Between a Recession and a Depression

The differences between a recession and a depression come down to severity. A recession indicates a decline in GDP for a ...

Discover More

Reversing a Vasectomy

There are about 30,000 to 40,000 men in the U.S. every year who decide to reverse their vasectomies in an effort to have more ...

Discover More
More Health Tips

What to Expect in the Third Trimester

The end is near as you enter your third trimester and many women wonder what this last party of their journey entails. ...

Discover More

How Do I Know if I Am Pregnant?

Whether you are trying to get pregnant or not, it is important to be aware of symptoms that indicate that you are pregnant. ...

Discover More

What to Expect in the First Trimester

Pregnancy can be relatively frightening if you do not know what to expect. Even though all pregnancies are different, there ...

Discover More
Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 7 + 5?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)