How to Deal with Postpartum Depression

How to Deal with Postpartum Depression

 

Source: assets.babycenter.com

Postpartum depression is a type of depression that some mothers might experience after the birth of their new baby. If you suspect that you might be suffering from postpartum depression, then it’s time to take the next step and treat it immediately. Some moms might feel as though they don’t need the depression chat room. However, treating postpartum depression is necessary for both mom and baby.

“Postpartum depression is said to affect about one in every eight mothers,” says Jared Friedman, MA. “It is a real, clinical form of depression and requires treatment and attention just like any other mental illness.”

After giving birth, a mom usually experiences a mixture of emotions from joy to anxiety. Moms of newborns usually feel stressed, exhausted, and overwhelmed. However, if these emotions have become too powerful and you’re feeling as though you’re never going to be a good mom or you just can’t do it, then you’re most likely suffering from depression. Often at times, postpartum baby blues are confused with postpartum depression. Postpartum baby blues usually occur after 2-3days after birth and they can last for up to 2 weeks. Postpartum depression is more severe and lasts much longer.

“They are able to function in their roles but have significant anxiety and mood symptoms that rob them of the joy of being a mother and interfere with their ability to develop good attachment and bonding with their infants,” says Samantha Meltzer-Brody, MD, MPH.

Why Does Postpartum Depression Occur?

 

Hormones:

Your hormones increase during pregnancy and then suddenly drop after giving birth. This triggers postpartum depression.

Genetics:

Depression can be genetic and if anyone else in the family has suffered with it, then there’s a possibility that you will too.

Other Stress and Problems:

Problems between you and your partner or other family members can trigger postpartum depression. Sometimes your family or partner may not be there to offer their support or you might have financial issues, these factors lead to postpartum depression. If you’ve had an alcohol or drug addiction problem, then you’re also at risk for postpartum depression.

Problems During Pregnancy:

Whether it was complications with your pregnancy or other issues in your life that you were faced with during pregnancy. These factors also increase the risk of postpartum depression.

Symptoms of Postpartum Depression

“Postpartum symptoms usually develop within the first few weeks after giving birth, but may begin later — up to six months after birth,” says John M. Grohol, PsyD.

 

Source: neuropsychiatrichospitals.net

  • Severe depression and mood swings.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Lack of interest in things you once enjoyed such as sex, or any activities that you previously enjoyed.
  • Thoughts about harming your baby or even yourself.
  • Crying excessively.
  • Not being able to bond with your baby.
  • Either difficulty with falling asleep or sleeping too much.
  • Fear of not being a good mother.
  • Anxiety or panic attacks.
  • The inability to concentrate.
  • Feelings of worthlessness.
  • Fatigue and lack of energy.
  • Suicidal thoughts.

Why Does Postpartum Depression Require Immediate Treatment?

If postpartum depression is left untreated, it can lead to other major issues, not just in the mother’s life, but the fathers and baby are too. The mother is at risk of chronic depression or episodes of depression. Due to the mother’s depression, the father is also at risk of depression and it could strain your marriage. Your child is also at risk of emotional and behavioral disorders. They are also at risk of suffering from eating and sleeping problems. Along with delays in their development.

Treatment Options for Postpartum Depression

 

Consult Your Doctor or Primary Health Caregiver:

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A health professional needs to diagnose you. They can also do a thorough examination of you and advise you on the best way to move forward and how to treat it.

Therapy and Counseling:

By talking to either a psychologist, psychiatrist or a therapist, it could help you solve any problems that you are faced. They will also help you with managing your emotions and understanding it.

Medications:

Antidepressants can help with treating postpartum depression. These medications help with balancing the chemicals in the brain. Ensure that you notify your psychiatrist if you’re breastfeeding so that they can prescribe medications that are safe for breastfeeding.

Live a Healthy Lifestyle:

Eat healthy foods, exercise regularly and get enough sleep. These can help with treating postpartum depression. If it is difficult to get a good night’s sleep with your baby, then try and take naps during the day.

References: WebMD

Mayo Clinic

Understanding Prenatal Depression

Source: scarymommy.com

A pregnant woman is expected to be jolly and in “cloud 9” while waiting for her baby to arrive. She should be happy always since a little angel is inside her blessed body and will be ready to come out in 9 months. Catherine Monk, PhD  highlighted that “The womb is an influential first home, as important as the one a child is raised in, if not more so.” It is also anticipated that after giving birth, the hormones are in disarray and a bit of Post-Partum Depression can be suffered by the mother. But with love and some help, it can be managed easily.

What others don’t know is that depression can commence at any time and not just post-partum. This means that a pregnant woman can get depressed anytime from the first trimester up to her 9th month. This condition is referred to as Prenatal Depression or Antenatal Depression. “Anxiety, depression, and stress in pregnancy are risk factors for adverse outcomes for mothers and children. Anxiety in pregnancy is associated with shorter gestation and has adverse implications for fetal neurodevelopment and child outcomes,” wrote Christine Schetter, PhD.

A study revealed that up to 20% of pregnant mothers experience this type of clinical depression and most of them fail to get treatment. At least 7% of the women who are with a child has this mental health issue. In simple math, for every 100 pregnant women, at least 7 have this disorder and most of them are unconscious about it. This depression can go on for months and even years, and the only way to make it stop is through treatment and therapy. Medication is rarely prescribed, but if absolutely needed during extreme cases, it is being advised.

Signs and Symptoms of Prenatal Depression

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The reason why Prenatal Depression is often left untreated is that women feel that the change in their moods and emotions are due to their pregnancy hormones. There is truth to that, but if this change in behavior becomes severe or the pregnant mother fails to function normally, then, it can be this mental health problem.

  • Failure to focus or concentrate
  • Can’t remember things
  • Feelings of numbness
  • Always agitated
  • Can’t sleep well or sleeps for extended hours
  • Overly fatigued
  • Overeating or not eating at all
  • No interest in sex
  • Dreadful of giving birth in an extreme way
  • Feeling guilty, helpless and hopeless all the time
  • Intense sadness
  • A disconnect reaction with the baby
  • Not happy about giving birth
  • Wanting to die or often thinking about dying and death
Factors that Trigger Prenatal Depression
.                                Source: img.huffingtonpost.com

 

A pregnant woman can get clinically depressed for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common factors:

  • Failed or bad and abusive personal relationships
  • Family problems
  • History of depression in the family
  • Previous miscarriages
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Rape, abuse or other traumatic events

Treatments for Prenatal Depression

It is not usually recommended for pregnant women to drink anti-depressants because there is a baby inside of them and the meds may have an effect on the unborn child. But there are instances when medication is necessary for a pregnant mother and that’s due to the severity of their depression. This prescription is carefully provided for the mother – TCA’s and SSRI’s are the topical medication. When used as prescribed, the pregnant mother’s mood will be lifted in as short as two weeks. Energy will also be elevated and bad feelings are suppressed, as well.

In a study conducted by Angela Bowen, PhD, and co-authors, it was discovered that “depressive symptoms improve over the course of the pregnancy into the postpartum period, particularly for women who receive treatment.” Therapy is the go-to treatment for this type of clinical depression. It is a very effective way of letting out their ill feelings so that they can sort it out and work on it.

5 Practical Tips For First Time Moms

Source: baby-pedia.com

Having five kids is a gift from the Almighty. Why? I’ve been given the ultimate reward of life. Five children in 16 years! Some don’t have the ability to become a mother and I have been given that gift for five times. Others don’t have the capability to take care of their children after they give birth to them. But then again, I have been given that gift as well and I consider myself very blessed.

The essence of being a mother, I have it and if you are pregnant, you have it too – which is why you need to recognize this as a wonderful reward and live your days filling it with love for your child. Like many other young people, I got pregnant early as I was only 19 years old at that time. I didn’t know anything about being a mother and I had to learn all about it by hard experience.

I can’t say I am the perfect mother since no one was built by the Almighty in that way, but I can safely say that I do have practical tips for first-time moms to get rid of all the fears and worries. After all, I have five kids and I think I may know what I am doing.

Tip # 1 – Don’t get stuck on reading baby and parenting books.

 

Source: rd.com

You might be letting go of the most important fact – learning about the little things your baby does – if you focus too much on reading these “how to take care of your baby” books. Not everything is written down on a piece of paper. There are some things better left experienced than reading.

“It’s the combination of ‘must, can’t, won’t, should, could’ kinds of thoughts with the high level of emotion that can send moms down into the pit of depression or anxiety. Black and white thinking is a setup for disappointment, despair, lack of satisfaction and meaning, and low self-
worth,” says Erika Krull, MS.

For example, baby books will tell you to turn off the TV or radio so that your baby can sleep sound at night. That’s not entirely true. My firstborn would cry if the TV was off and my only son (my fourth child) would open his eyes if the lights were turned off.

Tip # 2 – There’s no need for you to worry.

The fact that you endured nine months for your child before he or she came out, suffered agony and physical pain for one to two days for labor and birth and then, taking care of your baby after all that – there is no better mom for your baby than you. So, don’t you worry? You have to believe that you are the best mom ever and that you will never fail your child.

“Friends and family can help by bringing some dinners, offering to take over with the baby for an hour or so that the parents can get a nap, or by babysitting siblings to give the parents time to focus on the infant without feeling guilty or pulled in multiple directions,” Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D., recommends.

I had a very challenging time after my third child was born. The baby was premature at 8 months and she was choking inside of me literally – the condition was called “cord coil”. I was so scared because I thought we would both die. My mental health was dwindling that time due to stress and depression and so, I turned to online therapy and my therapist has greatly helped me in dealing with my stress and depression. Postpartum depression is real and if you need mental health wellness assistance, don’t hesitate to find help.

Tip # 3 – Staying active is golden.

I have always been athletic and played soccer since middle school, but a pregnant soccer player CANNOT BE. And so, I diverted my energy to pregnancy yoga. Good thing there was one studio in our city that offered the class and I took it. Why stay active? Believe me when I say that it will help you give birth naturally.

“In contrast to what many people think, exercise is as good for our emotional health as it is for our physical health,” says Raphailia Michael, MA. “It increases serotonin levels, leading to improved mood and energy.”

Tip # 4 – Slow down.

If you are super active, it’s not advisable, as well. A little activity is good, but a lot might jeopardize your baby’s health. That’s what happened to me with my third child. I was so wrapped up on opening a salon business of mine and I’ve been working nonstop that I almost miscarried her at month 4. Even then, I didn’t stop. I was required bed rest for the remaining months but NO, I was relentless.

The result was an emergency C-section at month 8 and my baby was in the incubator for weeks. That’s how I got so stressed and depressed. So, slow down a bit and enjoy the pace. There is no other thing more important than you and your baby’s health.

Tip # 5 – Let it unfold gracefully.

Each mother-child pregnancy and the birth situation is unique. Just let it unfold and savor every little detail. I had to wait 24 hours before my firstborn came out while my sister labored for 2 hours and her eldest child popped. She said she didn’t even feel a thing while I was cringing.

You know, it’s useless to anticipate and be nervous or apprehensive. Just be healthy all throughout your pregnancy by eating nutritious meals and exercise a bit, as well. Your OB will know what to do and keep you safe. The pediatrician is also there to monitor your baby.

Times are modern

now and everything can be viewed through a TV screen. There is nothing for you to be anxious about giving birth. Ask for an Epidural as I have done it for 4 of my 5 kids. It will lessen the cramping. (The Epidural was late on my second-born because she came so fast and I felt EVERYTHING. Was it good or bad? I’d say, it was a whole different experience which I won’t trade for anything.)

Is giving birth painful?

Source: mentalhealth.com

And the million-dollar question – is giving birth painful? I won’t lie. It is painful, but THE PAIN IS TOLERABLE. It’s like you want to take a dump (excuse my French) that won’t come out. So naturally, your stomach will hurt and there will be cramping.

The pain will extend to your lower back and hips which will come and go. When the cramping gets closer together, say every minute, you’re ready to push the baby. But if you have the Epidural, you won’t bear the cramping that much.

It is a beautiful experience – I have no words for it.

How to Handle Unplanned Pregnancies

Women and health, anxious Asian girl looking at pregnancy test kit, sitting on the ground at home

Source: alphacare.org

After hearing that you are pregnant when you’re not expecting it can be quite overwhelming and it can stir up a whole lot of negative emotions and stress too. It is also a challenge for both you and your partner. At times, you might feel as though you’re all alone and no one cares. You might also be confused about your future and how to handle this unplanned pregnancy.

Some common emotions that you might feel upon hearing that you’re pregnant are: worry, sadness, frustration, anger, confusion, shock, anxiety, detachment from your baby, etc.

Here’s What You Can Do After Hearing that You’re Pregnant

 

Inform Your Partner or the Father of Your Child:

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It might be even more difficult if you have been separated from your partner before knowing that you are pregnant. But whatever the case might be, he should know about this and he should also share the responsibilities that come with the baby – even if you are no longer together. He could probably help you out financially.

Seek the Support from Others in Your Life:

During this time, you will need all the support you can get. You will also feel better when you have your loved ones by your side. Confide in your parents, ask them to give you their full support. Reach out to your closest friends and cry on their shoulders whenever you need to.

Visit a Pregnancy Center:

Source: hollisterpregnancycenter.com

Now that you are pregnant, you will need to visit a pregnancy center regularly. You will need to go for regular checkups, ultrasounds and get educated about pregnancy. You will also need to explore your birthing options and start planning accordingly. You can seek advice from a midwife or doctor if you are uncertain about which birthing option to choose.

Seek Counseling and Therapy:

If you are really depressed and can’t deal with your emotions. Or if you are facing other issues either than dealing with an unwanted pregnancy, you should seek counseling. A counselor can help you with dealing with your emotions and they could help you.

“Unintended pregnancy carried to term may have a long-term effect on women,” says Rebecca Mercier, Ph.D. “Health care professionals should therefore consider asking about pregnancy at early visits, as women who report that their pregnancy was unintended or unwanted may benefit from earlier or more targeted screening both during and following pregnancy.”

Give Yourself Some Time:

It’s understandable if you not happy about the pregnancy and you’re not looking forward to it either. You need some time to accept it, and you need to give yourself this time. Spend some time alone, think things over. Try and see the positive side of things and just give yourself a break and some soul-searching time.

“Take care and treat yourself the same way you do with loved ones,” says Georgia Witkin, Ph.D. “It’s important to make time for yourself whether it’s a workout class or a nice dinner.”

Your Plans Are Not Ruined:

It may seem as though your future has been ruined and your career will end. This is not the case, you can still make your dreams come true after motherhood. It might take a little time, but it’s possible. In fact, you will be focused and driven to make your dreams come true because you will want to be a good role model for your child and you will also want to provide the best for your child.

“Part of what makes regret so heavy is the feeling that something valuable has been irrevocably lost,” says Juliana Breines, Ph.D. “But there are also unexpected second chances, happy twists of fate, and new beginnings we never could have planned.”

Advantages of An Unplanned Pregnancy:

Unbelievably, there are some advantages to an unplanned pregnancy. It probably won’t seem like it, but read on:

  • You will sort out your finances: having a baby means you will need to be financially stable.
  • You will finally end up cleaning up your home and taking out all your clutter.
  • You will sort out your relationship. Whether you end up single or with your baby’s father. Either way, you will sort out your relationship and you will know where you stand.
  • You will sort yourself out emotionally and you will become stronger because now you will be forced to be strong for the sake of your baby.

Advantages of Having a Midwife During Pregnancy

Most women mainly seek for the health services of a physician or obstetrician during their journey to pregnancy. But there are a growing number of pregnant women now who also seek for the care and service of a midwife.

“Women assisted by midwives have had a more positive attitude about their birth experience and are more satisfied with the care they received,” writes Darcia F. Narvaez Ph.D.

Women should know that there are benefits in getting a midwife’s services during their pregnancy. In fact, there is a much better outcome both for the mother and the baby.

Below are some of the advantages that you should consider in deciding if you should get the service of a midwife:

midwife during pregnancy

Source: kidsinthehouse.com

Pre Conception

 Midwives do not only provide care for you during pregnancy and post labor, but they can also provide guidance and help you on your pre pregnancy period. The period of pre conception is also a critical part in pregnancy because it will prepare you and your body on what to expect.

“People will tell you that the best thing you can do to increase your odds of conceiving is to relax. This leads to getting what’s called meta-cognitive anxiety, or anxiety about your anxiety,” writes Alice Boyes Ph.D.

They can help you with the proper and healthy nutrition your body needs prior to pregnancy. They can also provide you a routine exercises that you can do for health purposes. Midwives may also advise you on halting your bad habits prior to pregnancy such as smoking. They can guide you on how to quit those bad habits.

You and your midwife can also talk about your preferred birthing plans so that they can assist you with all the preparations you need.

 

During Pregnancy

For first time moms to be, they have a lot of questions and concerns regarding the pregnancy and birthing plan so it is helpful that they have a midwife at their side during this period. Most of their fears and queries will be answered and explained thoroughly by a midwife.

Having a midwife can give you the guidance and support you need to make your pregnancy less stressful. They can personally talk to you about pregnancy education. Everything you need to know on what will happen during pregnancy, labor and post labor care they can assist you as well.

“Bad stress is a major risk factor for anxiety and depression. Almost every study that has examined stress in pregnancy shows that high stress increases the chance of a pregnant woman developing depression and anxiety,” writes Dawn Kingston Ph.D.

If you are going through physical and emotional stress, you can also talk to them about it.  They will also help you with your preferred options in birthing by explaining the processes involve in each option and by educating you the preparations you need.

Labor and Delivery

Birthing experience is a scary and stressful situation for any first moms to be. However, having a midwife during delivery can lessen your anxiety by providing you information and assistance you need during this time. Having someone who is there for you all throughout your pregnancy until labor and delivery is truly helpful and important. They have that personal touch because you have been with them for a long time.

They will be with you and assist you during your entire labor processes. They are trained to give you techniques to get through this phase. They can also offer you pain relief methods during labor.  Throughout the labor process they can monitor your overall wellness which includes your physical and psychological aspect. They can also be hands on during the birthing process.

having midwife during pregnancy

Source: kidspot.com.au

Post Birth

After delivering a wonderful baby in this world, your midwife will still be there for you to assist you on further mother and baby education. They can give you information about breastfeeding should it be your choice for your child. They can also refer you to lactation consultants should you need to.

Post-partum care for the mother and assistance in newborn care concern will also be provided.

midewife in pregnancy

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