Postpartum depression (PPD) is a mix of emotional, physical, and behavioral changes in women after giving birth. PPD is a form of major depression and can occur four weeks after giving birth. It is diagnosed in terms of the length of between delivery and onset, as well as its severity.
Many mothers who go through postpartum “baby blues” experience crying spells, mood swings, difficulty in sleeping, and anxiety. Postpartum depression may kick in two to three days after delivery and may for several weeks. In some mothers, it may be more severe and long-lasting compared to others.
PPD is not a weakness or a flaw but simply complication of giving birth. Quick diagnosis and treatment help the mother manage the situation and bond with her baby.
Post-delivery changes that cause PPD
PPD is caused by social, chemical, and psychological changes that occur when giving birth. These changes involve a rapid decrease in the hormonal levels after delivery. It is yet to be determined how the drop in hormones causes depression. During pregnancy, the level of progesterone and estrogen go up. After delivery, their level sharply goes down to where they were before she became pregnant.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of PPD may be hard to detect. They include appetite changes, difficulty in sleeping, decreased libido, excessive fatigue, and frequent changes in moods. In addition, other symptoms are not directly related to childbirth. These include loss of pleasure, depressed mood, hopelessness, worthlessness, helplessness, thoughts of hurting someone else, and suicidal thoughts.
Postpartum depression in new fathers
Postpartum depression can occur in new fathers too. In many cases, it manifests in the form of being overwhelmed, feeling fatigued and sad, changes in sleeping patterns, changes in appetite, and anxiety. They tend to experience the same symptoms that mothers experience after giving birth.
PPT is common in young fathers experiencing relationship problems, have a history of depression, or struggling financially. Postpartum depression in fathers is sometimes called paternal postpartum depression and can have effects on the development of the child and the relationship with the partner.