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Postpartum Depression

The birth of a baby brings changes not only to the family circle but also physiological changes as the mother’s body adjusts back to a non-pregnant state. It is important for new mothers to know that it is normal to experience sadness or anxiety as their hormones adjust to the postpartum state, whether they are breastfeeding or not, especially in the first three months. Significant postpartum depression issues are generally diagnosed and treated by doctors, and new mothers may benefit from therapy as they adjust to the increased responsibilities and many changes that follow childbirth, whether this is your first or you have added another child. Therapists have been trained to validate and provide supportive assistance for new mothers, helping to ease the transitions and teach coping and self-care strategies.

Facts about Postpartum Depression

From the Self.com:

  • Postpartum depression is not the same as the baby blues.
  • Postpartum mood disorders don’t always show up immediately after the birth.
  • Any new mom is susceptible, but there are certain risk factors that can predispose some women to postpartum depression.
  • Extreme sleep deprivation can trigger postpartum depression.
  • Many symptoms of postpartum depression are similar to major depressive disorder, but there are also additional symptoms.
  • Many women suffering think they’re the only ones.
  • Having postpartum depression does not make you a bad mother.

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Possible Causes of Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression does not have a single cause, but likely results from a combination of physical and emotional factors. Postpartum depression does not occur because of something a mother does or does not do.

After childbirth, the levels of hormones (estrogen and progesterone) in a woman’s body quickly drop. This leads to chemical changes in her brain that may trigger mood swings. In addition, many mothers are unable to get the rest they need to fully recover from giving birth. Constant sleep deprivation can lead to physical discomfort and exhaustion, which can contribute to the symptoms of postpartum depression.

Symptoms of Postpartum Depression

  • Feeling sad, hopeless, empty, or overwhelmed
  • Crying more often than usual or for no apparent reason
  • Worrying or feeling overly anxious
  • Feeling moody, irritable, or restless
  • Oversleeping, or being unable to sleep even when her baby is asleep
  • Having trouble concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Experiencing anger or rage
  • Losing interest in activities that are usually enjoyable
  • Suffering from physical aches and pains, including frequent headaches, stomach problems, and muscle pain
  • Eating too little or too much
  • Withdrawing from or avoiding friends and family
  • Having trouble bonding or forming an emotional attachment with her baby
  • Persistently doubting her ability to care for her baby
  • Thinking about harming herself or her baby
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