With hormones flying before, during and after childbirth, it is only natural to be emotional immediately following your pregnancy. Crying and mood swings are often referred to as “baby blues,” but symptoms that carry on for more than a few days or weeks can be a sign of postpartum depression.
Along with mood swings, you may feel irritable and lack concentration. Some of the more severe symptoms include thoughts of harming yourself or the newborn. Your family is a victim as well. A short temper and loss of vitality causes you to withdraw from your husband, family and friends. These feelings typically last for a few months, making postpartum depression difficult for everyone involved.
What are the Causes?
Hormones play a key part in postpartum depression. During pregnancy, your body produces copious amounts of both progesterone and estrogen. After birth, these hormones, and others produced in the thyroid gland, deplete themselves, contributing to mood swings.
You may feel excessively tired after birth, making you feel grumpy and irritable. Postpartum depression also has contributing factors caused by outside influences, such as financial strain, poor spousal support or sibling rivalry.
How Do You Treat It?
Treatment often depends on the depression’s severity. Your doctor may suggest hormone replacement therapy. Adding estrogen to your body can help your fluctuating hormones level off without causing extreme mood swings.
Another treatment option is antidepressants. If your postpartum depression is severe, these drugs help you cope with everyday life. Talk to your doctor about the drug’s effects on your breast milk. Many antidepressants are designed for new mothers, so it is critical to select a drug that has the least effect on your milk. In general, everything you consume shows up in the milk you produce.
For moderate depression, counseling is typically the best answer. Without any drugs or hormones coursing through your body, you can stay physically healthy for your newborn while talking out any issues. Stressful issues and basic anxiety are greatly diminished when you talk to a professional doctor. Consistent visits to the doctor are critical until your body, and mind, are ready to care for the newborn without professional intervention.
Postpartum depression is most often seen in women who already have bouts with depression outside of pregnancy. It is critical to speak to your doctor during pregnancy to cover any potential issues that may arise. If you are ready for possible postpartum depression, doctors can devise a plan to help you through this difficult time.