Postpartum Depression is a mental health problem that some mothers experience after childbirth. The definition of “Post-Partum “is as follows; Post means ‘after or following an event, and Partum means birth or delivery of a child. Therefore postpartum means an occurrence following the ‘birth’ of a child.
What you need to know about Depression and postpartum Depression
Generally, Depression is a syndrome characterized by mood swings, loss of interest in activities, significant impairment in daily life, low self-esteem, and pains without clearly defined symptoms. Such as hallucination, anxiety, hopelessness, and suicidal ideation. It can be a short-term condition lasting for a few weeks to months or less or a long-term lasting five years or more.
There are many forms of Depression, such as:
- Postpartum Depression — After child delivery, some women start experiencing depression symptoms initially; the symptoms seem to be sensations after birth called ‘baby blues’ which are usually temporary and presumably due to many changes during pregnancy and childbirth,
Postpartum Depression, based on studies, affects 10% of new mothers and is often seen as a common complication in child Birth. The symptoms can be seen from a few days to weeks or months.
Symptoms of postpartum depression include the following :
- Loss of pleasure
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Negative feelings toward the newborn child
- The sense of worthlessness and guilt
- Suicidal ideation
If left untreated postpartum Depression can negatively impact the baby and the mother mentally, physically, and emotionally. It can even result in the child’s and the mother’s death.
Causes of postpartum Depression
The cause of postpartum Depression is not very well known, but studies attribute it to hormonal imbalance; for example, during pregnancy, there is a surge in the pregnant woman’s blood a high level of two primary hormones, progesterone and estrogen. These two hormones play significant roles during the gestation period in the formative and development stages of the baby in the womb. The hormonal effects are regarded as chemical effects, while social, psychological, and physiological effects refer to changes in body stature and shape.
Experiences during pregnancy, delivery, and birth can be overwhelming. ‘It is often noticed that the blood levels of the two hormones implicated in postpartum depression drop drastically within two days after birth. An essential hormone that plays a vital role during pregnancy and after delivery is called the prolactin hormone. It is a significant source of immune system protection for newborn babies through the breast milk production supply after birth. In addition, a history of bipolar disorder increases the chances of postpartum disorder after birth.
Other risk factors
Other factors can put a woman at risk of postpartum disorder, such as
- Stressful experiences and events during pregnancy
- Financial burdens
- Anxiety disorder
- Unplanned pregnancy
- Substance or Alcohol abuse
And other stressful events during pregnancy (such as complications, bad relationship issues, and illness).
Substance abuse can also cause postpartum Depression. Whenever we mention substance abuse, let us remember that it is a problem that often starts with alcohol consumption.
Alcohol is the most common cause of drug abuse because it is most commonly available. In addition, it satisfies the pleasure of euphoria and lack of responsibility.
Genetic factors: Two individuals with different sets of genes could share feelings of the same traumatic life; in this situation, one could experience Depression, and the other does not.
It is essential to understand that genetic factors can be one of the major causes of postpartum. In addition, some studies have linked genetic coding to postpartum depression-like many other mental health disorders.
Treatment of postpartum Depression
Among the various forms of treatment for postpartum depression, physical exercise and activities seem to yield better results. It helps to reduce weight, increase physical strength, restore appetite, self-motivates, improve mental alertness, restore feelings of self-worth, and increase sexual desire and self-esteem. Postpartum depression can also be managed with counselling and medication therapies.
Conditions such as anxiety in postpartum Depression are controlled with medication therapy such as anti-anxiety agents. However, addiction and dependence on drugs are significant concerns in treating anxiety in postpartum disorder. If a person depends on the drug to function, it could result in drug abuse and support, which could become a significant societal problem.
All depression disorders require close monitoring by mental health professionals. For example, medication therapy management pharmacists ensure that drugs used by mothers are not secreted in the breast milk to their effects on the baby, and there should be counselling sessions by clinical psychologists and psychiatrists.
Other forms of emerging mental Health care include Psychedelic care.
It is a form of treatment initiated by “Humphrey Osmond “in Canada in the early 1950s in which applications of single high doses of the psychotherapeutic drug were used once to treat Depression. The duration of action was short and effective. Research continues in this practice area as the research communities examine and evaluate the legal implications.
Ketamine and postpartum Depression
Ketamine is being researched for use in the treatment of postpartum Depression. The FDA approved a drug called Ketamine to treat Depression. Ketamine is a fast-acting anti-depressant that relieves depressive symptoms in several hours instead of weeks. It is being considered.
Another form of treatment under consideration is Transcranial magnetic therapy (TMS) in Post Partum depression. It is a non-drug and non-invasive treatment. It is currently under review and study.
In Bottom Line
Newborn baby mothers can experience postpartum depression. However, showing love, care, and psychological and nutritional support, could help reduce the occurrence of postpartum Depression. Thus, families and spouses need to understand that giving birth should not end spousal care to the newborn baby mothers but require the continuous nutritional, social, and emotional support they deserve. However, living with a mother experiencing postpartum Depression should not be considered a burden. It is vital to render aid, both mentally and psychologically, in other to reduce the symptom of postpartum Depression. Also, visiting a therapist or consulting your Mental Health Services in your area is advised.
For further inquiries, contact your State Health Department.