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Postpartum Blues: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Feb 1, 2024

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Causes Of Postpartum Depression

Symptoms Of Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression symptoms

Postpartum Psychosis

Depression in the other parent after giving birth

Risk Factors Of  Postpartum Depression

Diagnosis Of Postpartum Depression

Treatment Of Postpartum Depression

Depression after giving birth

Postpartum Psychosis

Prevention Of Postpartum Depression

Complications Of Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Blues

The birth of a child can cause a wide range of strong emotions, from excitement and joy to fear and distress. You might not expect it, though, because it can also result in depression.

Most new mothers experience the "postpartum blues" after giving birth, which include mood swings, outbursts of crying, anxiety, and difficulty falling asleep. Postpartum blues usually begin two or three days after delivery and can linger for up to two weeks.

A person's postpartum depression is not a sign of weakness or inadequacy in their personality. It's sometimes just another problem related to childbirth.


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Causes Of Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression can occur for a number of causes, including mental health problems, physical changes, and heredity.

  • Inherited: According to research, there is an increased chance of developing postpartum depression if there is a family history of the condition, particularly if it is severe.
  • Alterations in hormones: Postpartum depression may worsen if there is a significant decline in estrogen and progesterone levels following childbirth.
  • Emotional problems Overwhelming and sleep deprivation can make it difficult to handle even minor problems. Perhaps you're concerned that you won't be able to care for a newborn. It's likely that you feel less attractive, that you're losing your sense of self, or that you're powerless over your life. 

Also Read: Post-traumatic stress disorder: Causes, Treatment, Symptoms

Symptoms Of Postpartum Depression

The following are some signs of the postpartum blues that may show up a few days to a week or two after your baby is born:

  • Alterations in mood
  • Uncertainty
  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Crying
  • Reduced concentration problems with hunger problems with going asleep

Also Read: Panic Attack: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications

Postpartum depression symptoms

Postpartum depression symptoms are more severe and long-lasting than baby blues, but they can be mistaken for them at first. These may eventually make it harder for you to care for your baby and perform other daily tasks.

 Usually, symptoms start to show up in the weeks right after giving delivery. But they can begin earlier, during pregnancy, or later, up to a year after delivery. Postpartum depression symptoms could include:

  • Severe fluctuations in mood or sadness
  • Excessive crying difficulties forming a link with your child, and detachment from relatives and family
  • Loss of appetite or eating significantly more than usual
  • Oversleeping insomnia, or the inability to fall asleep
  • Severe exhaustion or low vitality
  • Diminished passion and delight in former pastimes intense annoyance and rage anxiety of not being a good mother
  • Hopelessness
  • Feelings of inadequacy, guilt, regret, or worthlessness impaired ability to concentrate, think clearly, or make decisions Anxiety
  • Severe anxiety and panic attacks
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Feelings of injuring yourself or your child

If treatment is not received, postpartum depression may persist for several months or even longer.

Also Read: Agoraphobia: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Postpartum Psychosis

Postpartum psychosis is a rare condition with extremely severe symptoms that usually manifest in the first week after delivery. Among the signs and symptoms are:

  • Feeling confused and lost
  • Thinking about your child all the time 
  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • Having difficulty sleeping 
  • High levels of energy and emotional anxiety
  • Suspicious about someone trying to harm you or your child

Since postpartum psychosis can lead to behaviors or thoughts that risk your life, treatment is important as soon as possible.

Also Read: Post-traumatic stress disorder: Causes, Treatment, Symptoms

Depression in the other parent after giving birth

According to research, postpartum depression can also affect fathers who have recently been married. They might have irregular eating and sleeping patterns, or they might feel anxious, exhausted, or sad. 

Postpartum depression is most common in young fathers, those with a history of depression, those in bad partnerships, and those facing financial difficulties. Postpartum depression in fathers, commonly referred to as paternal postpartum depression, can have detrimental consequences on partner relationships and the development of children, much like it can in mothers.

If you're the spouse of a new mother and you're feeling anxious or depressed before or after your baby is born, get in touch with your healthcare provider. Treatment options for the other parent's postpartum depression include the same therapies and services accessible to women with comparable disorders.

Also Read: Panic Attack: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications

Risk Factors Of  Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is a condition that may occur to any new mother, and it's not always connected to her first child. Conversely, though, your risk increases if:

  • You have had depression in the past, either before or after being pregnant.
  • You have bipolar disorder.
  • You suffered from postpartum depression throughout your previous pregnancy.
  • Your family members experienced depression or other mood disorders.
  • Over the past year, you have encountered challenging circumstances including illness, job loss, or a difficult pregnancy.
  • Your baby has additional health concerns or needs particular care.
  • You've given birth to multiple children, like twins or triplets.
  • There are problems in your relationship between you and your spouse.
  • Financial problem.
  • The pregnancy was not intended or wanted.

Also Read: Agoraphobia: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Diagnosis Of Postpartum Depression

Usually, your doctor will inquire about your mental health, feelings, and thoughts in order to rule out postpartum depression or other more serious conditions. Postpartum depression is a common condition, so don't feel ashamed. Share your symptoms with your doctor so that you can work together to develop a workable treatment plan.

As part of your visit, your doctor may do a depression screening, which may entail filling out a questionnaire. Your doctor may prescribe more tests if it's necessary to rule out any other potential causes of your symptoms.

Also Read: Anorexia Nervosa Symptoms, Cause, types and treatment

Treatment Of Postpartum Depression

The length of treatment and recovery depends on your particular demands as well as the degree of your depression. If you have an underlying medical condition, your healthcare provider may treat an underactive thyroid or refer you to the right specialist. Additionally, your physician may recommend that you see a mental health professional.

In a few days to a week or two, the postpartum blues usually pass on their own. Meanwhile:

  • As often as possible, take naps.
  • Accept help from your loved ones.
  • Get familiar with new mothers.
  • Spend time taking care of yourself.
  • Drinking alcohol and other recreational drugs might make mood swings worse. Avoid them.
  • See your doctor about getting help from a lactation consultant if you're having trouble nursing or producing milk.

Also Read: Types of Insomnia, Causes , Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Disorders Associated

Depression after giving birth

Treatment options for postpartum depression include medication, psychotherapy (also known as talk therapy or mental health counseling), or a mix of both of them.

  • Psychoanalytic theory: It may help to discuss your concerns with a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health professional. You can develop more useful coping strategies for your emotions, problem-solving skills, realistic goal-setting, and positive responses to situations through therapy. There may be occasions when family or relationship counseling is beneficial. Two types of therapy are used for postpartum depression: cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal psychotherapy.
  • Antidepressants: Your doctor may advise taking an antidepressant. If you are nursing, whatever medicine you take will end up in your breast milk. However, the majority of antidepressants provide little risk of side effects for your nursing child when used in conjunction with breastfeeding. Examine the benefits and drawbacks of each antidepressant with your physician.
  • Additional drugs: Your treatment strategy may include additional drugs if needed. Brexanolone, or Zulresso, is the first drug authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of postpartum depression in adult women. Brexanolone slows down numerous hormones that quickly fall after childbirth, which may lead to postpartum depression. Patients may need to stay in a medical facility and be closely monitored by a healthcare provider for 60 hours after receiving the medicine intravenously due to the likelihood of serious side effects. The therapy is therefore not yet widely available. Research on an oral drug for postpartum depression is still going strong, with promising findings. Nevertheless, it might not have as many negative effects if taken as a pill on a regular basis. Postpartum depression, often known as chronic depression, can occasionally persist and worsen over time. Once you start feeling better, it's imperative that you keep up your treatment. Treatment stopping too soon could result in a recurrence.

Also Read: Schizophrenia: Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors, Classifications, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prognosis

Postpartum Psychosis

Postpartum psychosis requires immediate treatment, typically in a hospital. Potential therapy plan:

  • Drugs: Your doctor may recommend a combination of drugs, such as mood stabilizers, benzodiazepines, antidepressants, and antipsychotics, to treat your symptoms.
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT): ECT may be recommended if medicine proves to be ineffective in treating your severe postpartum depression or postpartum psychosis. During an ECT procedure, tiny electrical currents are purposefully utilized to induce a brief seizure in the brain. 

ECT seems to change brain chemistry in a way that reduces the symptoms of psychosis and depression when other therapies have failed.

  • A hospital stay during postpartum psychosis therapy may interfere with a mother's ability to breastfeed. Breastfeeding is difficult when you are not with the baby. Your medical professional can help with lactation, or the process of producing breast milk, while you are in the hospital.

Also Read: Delirium: Predisposing Factors, Causes, Risk Factors, Complications, Diagnosis, Treatment

Prevention Of Postpartum Depression

If you have a history of depression, especially postpartum depression, let your healthcare provider know as soon as you find out you are pregnant or if you wish to become pregnant.

Throughout your pregnancy, your healthcare provider can closely monitor you for any indications of depression. You can complete a depression screening questionnaire before giving birth as well as after. Support groups, counseling, and other therapies may occasionally be beneficial for mild depression. There are several circumstances where antidepressants may be advised, including pregnancy.

To check for postpartum depression symptoms after your baby is born, your doctor may suggest an early postpartum evaluation. The quicker it is identified, the sooner treatment can begin. If you've already dealt with depression following childbirth, your doctor could suggest talk therapy or antidepressant medication right away.

Also Read: EATING DISORDERS (Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa)

Complications Of Postpartum Depression

Mothers who struggle to bond with and care for their children may also stop breastfeeding, which puts them at greater risk of committing suicide. Even with treatment, a woman with postpartum depression is more likely to experience major depressive episodes in the future.

Untreated postpartum depression increases a child's risk of emotional and behavioral issues, including difficulty sleeping, eating, excessive crying, and delayed language development. Untreated postpartum depression increases a child's risk of emotional and behavioral issues, including difficulty sleeping, eating, excessive crying, and delayed language development.

Also Read: Sleep Disorder : Symptoms, Causes & Treatment - NEET PG Psychiatry

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