Postpartum Depression (PPD): Causes & Symptoms

Overview

Postpartum depression (PPD), also called postnatal depression, is a type of mood disorder associated with childbirth, which can affect both sexes. Most women experience a brief period of worry or unhappiness after delivery, while postpartum depression should be suspected when symptoms are severe and last over two weeks. PPD is not a character flaw or a weakness. It usually onset after one week and one month of childbirth, and can also affect the newborn child negatively.

PPD affects about 15% of women around childbirth, and affects about 1% to 26% of new fathers. Postpartum psychosis is a more severe form of postpartum mood disorder that occurs in about 1 to 2 per 1,000 women following childbirth. Postpartum psychosis is one of the main causes of the murder of children less than one year of age. This occurs in about 8 per 100,000 births in America.

Causes

There are many causes and related factors of PPD, including:

  • Hormones.
  • A history of depression.
  • Have bipolar disorder.
  • Had postpartum depression after a previous pregnancy.
  • Family members have depression or other mood disorders.
  • Have experienced stressful events during the past year, such as pregnancy complications, illness or job loss.
  • Baby has health problems.
  • Have twins, triplets or other multiple births.
  • Have difficulty on breast-feeding.
  • Financial problems.
  • The pregnancy was unplanned or unwanted.
  • Have a baby at a very early age.
  • Tired after labor and delivery.
  • Tired from a lack of sleep.
  • Overwhelmed with a new baby.
  • Doubts about their ability to be a good mother.
  • Stress from changes in work and home routines.
  • Grief about loss of who they were before having the baby.
  • Less attractive.
  • A lack of free time.

Symptoms

There are many symptoms of PPD, followings are some typical symptoms that you should notice:

  • Depressed mood or severe mood swings.
  • Excessive crying for no reason.
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby.
  • Withdrawing from family and friends.
  • Loss of appetite or eating much more than usual.
  • Cannot fall in sleep. Sleep too much.
  • Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy.
  • Reduced interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoy.
  • Intense irritability and anger.
  • Fear that you’re not a good mother.
  • Hopelessness.
  • Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt or inadequacy.
  • Diminished ability to think clearly, concentrate or make decisions.
  • Severe anxiety.
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby.
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.

Diagnosis

Only a doctor can diagnose postpartum depression. If you have any symptoms of PPD, you should go to see a doctor in time. Doctors need know your thoughts and symptoms, and may also need some tests, such as a depression screening and blood tests.

Treatment

PPD can develop into postpartum psychosis and affect the baby and family, so treat it in time is necessary. Some treatment options may include:

Symptoms of PPD can be relieved after a period of treatment, while it can recur or continue in some cases.

Home Remedies

Some tips may be helpful to relieve the symptoms of PPD.

  • Make healthy lifestyle choices and have regular exercise, such as yoga.
  • Have enough rest and sleep.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Set simple goals and don’t give yourself too much pressure.
  • Have your own time to get out of the house. You can do something you enjoy, such your hobbies or some entertainments.
  • Avoid isolation. Talk with your husband, your family members about your feelings.
  • Ask for help if you find you cannot take care of the baby on your own.
  • Use B vitamins, fish oil, turmeric can be helpful.
  • Eat more dark leafy greens, whole grains, and other fruits.

Please go to see a doctor if you have any symptoms.

Keywords: postpartum depression; PPD; postnatal depression.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.