It is postnatal depression that should be separated from the deterioration of the emotional state immediately after childbirth. The so-called baby blues develops in 80% of women due to changes in hormonal levels. The state of pregnancy is maintained by high concentrations of the hormone progesterone. From the point of view of the emotional background, this can manifest itself in the form of high spirits, euphoria , complacency. Before childbirth, progesterone production decreases. For 3-4 days after childbirth, women may feel depressed, confused, feel like crying. The state of sadness, insecurity, self-doubt can last up to 2 weeks. The characteristic differences of such a depressive reaction are its short duration, reversibility, and low severity.
A young mother in this state also needs support and the opportunity to relax, recover, a favorable course often makes it possible to manage with the help of relatives and friends. However, any alarming changes in the state are the basis for an immediate appeal to a specialist.
Symptoms of postpartum depression
Clinical manifestations are represented by the classic depressive triad:
- depressed mood;
- slow thinking;
- motor retardation.
It often turns out that during pregnancy, the physical and mental well-being of a woman is of keen interest to others. With the birth of a baby, everything changes, attention goes to the newborn, and the complaints of a young mother about fatigue and depression can be ignored. It is important to know how not to miss the deterioration, to avoid the development of symptoms of the disease. Close women should monitor not only the dryness of the baby’s diapers, but also the well-being of the mother. You should be wary if a woman:
- complains of low mood, loss of strength;
- often cries, behaves as if something terrible is about to happen;
- unnecessarily worried about the child’s condition, does not allow those close to him;
- indifferent to the child, says that she does not have any feelings for him;
- expresses fears that he cannot take care of the baby properly;
- looks closed, fenced off from family members, reluctant to talk about his condition;
- has difficulty doing normal activities, can stay in bed for a long time;
- drowsy or unable to sleep for a long time, sleep is interrupted;
- talks about his guilt in front of the child, others;
- complains that he cannot cope with the baby;
- refuses to eat, loses weight;
- expresses thoughts about unwillingness to live.
The development of PDR is said when the signs of the disorder persist for at least 2 weeks. Close people do not always realize how long it lasts. If a woman has not previously suffered from episodes of depression or bipolar affective disorder, the symptoms persist for about 2 months. In the case of a burdened history, the duration of the attack will be longer, and the likelihood that the woman will cope with it on her own is low. Worried about her condition and the well-being of the child, the mother can hide the alarming symptoms.
How to recognize postpartum depression
You can suspect the development of the disorder by observing the behavior of a young mother. You should ask what experiences, unfulfilled needs, painful thoughts dream of her to enjoy motherhood. If a woman is anxious, frightened by her condition and does not know how to “get out” of depression on her own, a psychologist or psychiatrist should be offered a consultation, help with organizing a visit. If relatives suspect that the state of mind of a young mother is not entirely safe, they can watch her. Next, you should delicately ask her about the experiences, feelings associated with the birth of a child, ask if you can somehow help her.
The ideas of self-blame and thoughts of harming oneself deserve special attention. Statements about the possibility of suicide are not just words, this symptom indicates the need to urgently see a doctor.
The diagnosis of PRD is made on the basis of complaints, the clinical picture.
If the mother of a newborn does not understand what is happening to her and does not know how to describe experiences, the Edinburgh scale will come to the rescue. It consists of ten questions, each of which has 4 possible answers. Online tests are available on the Internet to assess the severity of the condition.
This technique is effective not only for self-diagnosis of PDD, it can be used in case of suspicion of any depression. If the test shows the presence of a disorder, you should consult a doctor and get support, information on how to deal with painful symptoms.
How to help a woman with symptoms of postpartum depression
Suspicion of a change in state is the basis for saying to yourself: “Stop!” and ask for help. Often a woman can be stopped by a false fear that others will consider her abnormal or devalue her experiences.
Help at home
First, you need to believe in the possibility of recovery and contact your loved ones, a visiting nurse, a pediatrician, call the emergency psychological help phone, sign up for a consultation with a psychologist. The specialist will evaluate the complaints and tell you how not to fall into a more serious condition.
A woman should not try to endure all the hardships on her own, especially if she understands that her strength is already running out. Non-drug assistance for PPD is as follows:
- not trying to be a ” super woman “;
- choose every opportunity to relax;
- delegate night feedings (expressed milk) to a partner;
- eat enough, choosing tasty and healthy foods;
- ask relatives to help around the house;
- set aside time for activities that fill you with energy;
- find a support group for young mothers;
- more often get out for a walk, for a run;
- change place of residence.
These actions can also be used ” ahead of the curve” – for the prevention of PPD.
Psychotherapy and drug treatment
Seeing a doctor for PPD does not mean that something is wrong with the woman. This fact speaks to her courage and desire to feel healthy again. According to statistics, about 25% of women seek specialized care in the postpartum period. As a rule, treatment takes place on an outpatient basis. To correct symptoms, the doctor prescribes antidepressants that are compatible with breastfeeding. This issue should be discussed before the prescription is issued. A psychiatrist may also recommend individual or group psychotherapy.
In severe PPD, threatening behavior of a young mother, hospitalization may be required for more intensive treatment and prevention of a suicidal attempt.
What to do if the condition of a woman remains unstable for a long time? And complaints about low mood, apathy persist not only for the first few weeks from the moment of discharge, but also remind of themselves 3-5 months later, after the first year of the baby’s life? Protracted depression indicates the need for re-examination to rule out other somatic or mental disorders.
Postpartum depression is a specific condition that lasts from 2 weeks to 2 months. Clinical symptoms are indistinguishable from a typical depressive episode. If you suspect deterioration, you should immediately contact a psychologist or psychotherapist.
Some new mothers may experience the so-called postpartum depression. Its symptoms and signs are not so unambiguous, and only a specialist, a psychiatrist, can recognize the disorder.
What is postpartum depression
The problem is that a young mother does not sleep at night, often forgets to eat, and there is no strength left to listen to herself and understand her feelings. But it is imperative to find time to understand your feelings: if the mother does not understand how to get rid of postpartum depression and suppresses the first feelings, the further manifestation of the disorder may be more severe.
Postpartum depression is an acute emotional state that prevents a new mother from enjoying motherhood. At the slightest sign of it, you should seek help from a specialist.
When was postpartum depression first mentioned?
In the IV century BC. e. the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates wrote that some women experience mental disorders after the birth of a child. During the time of Queen Victoria in Great Britain, women who suffered a mental breakdown after childbirth were described as being overtaken by “postpartum insanity.” The fate of these women was sad: they were placed in a lunatic asylum.
Today, medicine and psychology have come a long way and do not worry that the treatment of postpartum depression will be as conservative as before.
Why does postpartum depression occur?
Experts have not yet come to an unambiguous opinion on the causes of postpartum depression – research in this area continues. Possible causes can be divided into biological and psychological.
- hormonal changes;
- natural decline in emotions after childbirth;
- weakness and fatigue.
- a woman’s hereditary predisposition to emotional disorders and mental illness; difficult situation in the family;
- feeling of disappointment;
- unpreparedness for motherhood.
Postpartum depression: when does it start?
Depression can start even before the baby is born. Scientists are sure that there are main predictors, or predecessors, of this condition:
- depression during pregnancy;
- low self-esteem;
- difficulties in caring for a child – including in intensive care units, intensive care;
- anxiety during pregnancy;
- psychological trauma;
- low social support;
- impoverished marital relations;
- difficult temperament of the newborn;
- syndrome of sadness in childbirth;
- single mother.
Postpartum depression: how it manifests
Specialists identify dangerous symptoms of postpartum depression, which require prompt consultation with a specialist. Postpartum depression symptoms:
- feeling of anxiety and devastation;
- loss of interest in life;
- irritability, and most often causeless;
- feelings of alienation from one’s own child;
- feeling of inferiority;
- loss of appetite.
Many women ignore these symptoms. This problem is connected with the fact that mothers are ashamed to admit not only to relatives, but even to themselves that the birth of a child did not bring universal happiness. How long postpartum depression lasts depends on the condition of the woman.
Some experts note that children whose mothers suffered from postpartum depression are characterized by increased anxiety, they may experience impaired concentration and attention, and delayed speech development.
Consequences of postpartum depression
The baby conveys the mood of the mother, her anxiety and irritability. But the more the baby cries, the more irritated the mother is – and this vicious circle cannot be broken.
Some experts note that children whose mothers suffered from postpartum depression are characterized by increased anxiety. They may experience a violation of concentration and attention, a delay in speech development.
Therefore, a young mother and her relatives need to be attentive to their emotional state and, having discovered the first sprouts of postpartum depression, immediately seek advice from a specialist and fight the disease with all their might.
Many mothers are looking for ways to cope with postpartum depression on their own. Doing this is not worth it. The condition must be monitored by a specialist – a psychologist, psychotherapist, psychiatrist. You should not try to cope with depression on your own: it can harm both mother and baby.
Prevention of depression
This condition can be prevented. For this, a number of recommendations should be followed:
- ask for support from your husband and loved ones, honestly talk about your feelings and ask them to accept them;
- ask for help, not verbal, but active – and it is better in advance, and not at the moment when you no longer have the strength to endure; ;
- try to give yourself as many positive emotions as possible;
- communicate with friends, even by phone;
- at least once a week find time to be alone and do what you like;
- find time to exercise.
Postpartum depression occurs in many women. But if she once touched a young mother, this does not mean that with a subsequent child she will have to go through this painful period again. On the contrary – knowing how to deal with postpartum depression, a young pregnant mother can easily protect herself. To do this, it is necessary to develop, together with a psychologist or psychotherapist, an “anti-crisis plan” so that her subsequent experience of motherhood becomes happy.