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

Aug 16, 2023

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Causes Of Postpartum Depression

Symptoms Of Postpartum Depression

Risk Factors Of Postpartum Depression

Diagnosis Of Postpartum Depression

Treatment Of Postpartum Depression

Prevention Of Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression

Postpartum depression or perinatal depression refers to depression that appears after childbirth. This extremely common but hazardous medical condition affects up to one in seven new mothers after giving birth.

After having birth, you could feel depressed, empty, or emotionless. It may cause mood swings, tiredness, and a general sense of gloom for a very long time following birth.

Depression after childbirth should not be ignored. Despite the fact that it's a dreadful ailment, there are numerous different treatment options that can help patients recover from it.


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Causes Of Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression has multiple causes, including heredity, physiological changes, and emotional problems.

  • Physical modifications. A sharp drop in estrogen and progesterone levels after childbirth may contribute to postpartum depression. You can also notice a sharp decrease in the other hormones the thyroid gland produces, which can leave you feeling exhausted, lethargic, and melancholy.
  • Difficulty with emotions. When you're worn out and sleep-deprived, it may be tough for you to handle even minor concerns. You can feel less attractive, struggle with identity, or lack control over your life. Any of these issues may make postpartum depression worse.
  • Hereditary. according to some studies genes are also of the reasons which can result in postpartum depression.

Symptoms Of Postpartum Depression

After giving birth, many people have "baby blues," a syndrome that causes them to feel depressed, empty, cranky, or exhausted. Though it can linger for weeks after giving delivery, postpartum depression is often more severe. Your ability to perform daily tasks may be hampered by its severe symptoms.

The signs and symptoms of postpartum depression might differ from person to person and even day to day. While they could start to show up at any point after giving birth, symptoms usually start to show up one to three weeks after delivery.

These are some more signs of postpartum depression:

  • Crying a lot or feeling depressed.
  • Feeling overburdened, thinking of harming the baby or yourself, lacking energy or motivation, feeling unworthy, guilty, or like a lousy parent, sleeping excessively or insufficiently, and changing your connection to food.
  • Experiencing persistent headaches, aches, pains, or stomach issues and feeling anxious.

Risk Factors Of Postpartum Depression

Risk factors of postpartum depression include:

  • You have a history of depression, either before or after being pregnant.
  • You suffer from bipolar illness.
  • After your first pregnancy, you had postpartum depression.
  • You have relatives who have had depression or other mood problems.
  • The past year has been hard for you due to circumstances like job loss, illness, or pregnancy.
  • Complications.
  • Your infant has specific needs or health issues.
  • Twins, triplets, or other multiple births occur.
  • Breastfeeding is challenging for you.
  • Your marriage or romantic partnership is experiencing difficulties.
  • Your network of allies is inadequate.
  • You are experiencing money issues.
  • The pregnancy wasn't intended for or unwanted

Diagnosis Of Postpartum Depression

A medical expert will be able to assess your symptoms and medical history to make a diagnosis. Typically, they'll watch out for and inquire about:

  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Signs of depression
  • Feeling less energetic
  • Angry emotions

A doctor will determine other risk factors for depression and related illnesses as part of the diagnosis. These may include:

  • Recent difficult life occurrences
  • A history of depression, external stressors, and medication use

In order to determine whether a condition like a thyroid illness or a vitamin deficit may be causing your symptoms, your doctor may also prescribe a blood test.

Treatment Of Postpartum Depression

Depending on your symptoms' nature and intensity, postpartum depression is handled differently. Antidepressant or anxiety medication, talk therapy, or cognitive behavioral therapy are all available as forms of treatment, as well as joining a support group.

Medications for the treatment of depression, anxiety, and psychosis may be used in the treatment of postpartum psychosis. In order to stabilize you, you can also be admitted to a rehab facility for a few days. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a viable option if you don't improve with this approach.

Don't assume that taking medication for depression, anxiety, or even psychosis is impossible if you are nursing (chestfeeding). About your alternatives, talk to your healthcare physician.

Medications that are used for the treatment of postpartum depression are:

Antidepressants can be suggested by the doctor to treat the signs of postpartum depression.

The chemicals in your brain that affect your mood are balanced by antidepressants.

Consult your healthcare professional about the advantages and disadvantages of taking an antidepressant while you are nursing. Through your breast milk, medications can reach your kid. The transfer level is often minimal, though, and many antidepressants are regarded as safe. Based on your symptoms and if you are breastfeeding, your physician can assist you in selecting the medication that is best for you.

Typical antidepressants used to treat postpartum depression include:

  • SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, include fluoxetine (Prozac) and sertraline (Zoloft).
  • SNRIs, including desvenlafaxine (Pristiq) and duloxetine (Cymbalta), prevent the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine.
  • Bupropion (Zyban or Wellbutrin).
  • TCAs, such as imipramine (Tofranil) and amitriptyline (Elavil), are tricyclic antidepressants.

Be aware that it often takes at least three to four weeks for antidepressants to start working. Prior to discontinuing the medicine, see your healthcare provider. Early drug discontinuation increases the risk of recurrence of symptoms. Most healthcare professionals would advise you to cut back on your dosage before quitting altogether.

Brexanolone-containing IV medicine may be suggested if postpartum depression is found while you are still in the hospital.

Prevention Of Postpartum Depression

Inform your healthcare practitioner if you have ever suffered from depression, particularly postpartum depression, before becoming pregnant or as soon as you learn you are expecting.

Your healthcare professional can closely watch you for depressive symptoms when you are pregnant. Both throughout pregnancy and right after birth, you can fill out a depression screening questionnaire. Support groups, counseling, and other therapies can occasionally be used to treat minor depression. Other times, antidepressants might even be advised when pregnant.

Your doctor might advise getting a checkup soon after giving birth to check for postpartum depression symptoms. Treatment can start as soon as it is discovered. If you have a history of postpartum depression, your doctor could immediately advise talk therapy or antidepressant medication.

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