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When a baby comes into a person’s life, it triggers a lot of emotions for them as a mother. These include joy, excitement, anxiety, as well as fear. Beside these emotions, the birth of your baby may also lead to very negative feelings – a phenomenon known as baby blues or even postpartum depression. What’s the difference? What are the postpartum depression symptoms? Well, read on.
Baby blues usually afflict new moms and often starts within the first two to three days after delivery, generally lasting for up to 2 -3 weeks. Some moms experience a more long-lasting and severe form of depression; this is an extreme mood disorder that requires treatment and proper care.
Postnatal or postpartum depression is a complex mix of behavioral, emotional, and physical changes associated with having a baby. The diagnosis of depression after childbirth is based not only on the time period between delivery and onset, but also the severity of the depression.
Almost every new mother suffers from baby blues. This does not require medication and normally subsides with education and support. However, follow up is essential because around 20% of these mothers are prone to progressing from baby blues to postpartum depression, an adverse consequence which can affect the cognitive growth of the child.
It’s impossible to know the exact reason behind postnatal depression, but several factors such as relationship conflicts, economic conditions, sociocultural factors, and hormonal changes may be associated.
The early identification of baby blues will allow the healthcare practitioner to prevent it from developing into postpartum depression. The symptoms of baby blues are:
At first, postpartum depression can be mistaken for baby blues. However, if the symptoms and signs last longer, are more intense, and interfere with your ability to take care of yourself, your baby, and handle day-to-day tasks, then it may be postpartum depression. Usually symptoms develop within the first few weeks after giving birth, but it may begin earlier or later in some mothers. For example, this could be during pregnancy and up to a year after birth.
(Read about postpartum depression for males here)
There are a lot of causes for postpartum depression. However, emotional and physical problems play a vital role in triggering depression:
There are numerous factors that elevate the risk of postnatal depression and make signs evident. These include:
Mostly, depression affects around 10% to 20% of mothers within the first year after giving birth. However, just 50% of women who experience major postpartum depression symptoms are diagnosed with the condition. One of the most useful screening tools used extensively in the medical field to diagnose postpartum depression is The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS).
It is a 10-item questionnaire that helps in assessing the mental condition of a woman. The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale is available in roughly all languages. If you score ten or greater than ten on this scale, or get an affirmative answer of the questions concerning suicidal thoughts, it suggests that you are suffering from postpartum depression.
Both the treatment and the recovery time depends on the severity of the depression and the patient’s individual needs. If, say, your thyroid is underactive or you have an underlying disease, your doctor will pay attention to such a health condition so that the root causes can be catered to. You may be required to see an appropriate specialist to treat your mental and physical problems as a whole.
Postpartum blues or baby blues generally fade with time – maybe within one to two weeks. During the early postpartum period you should:
The treatment of postnatal depression symptoms begin with psychotherapy (counseling mental health or talk therapy), medication, or using both the options.
With proper treatment, in time, postpartum depression symptoms can be improved. If left untreated, the depression can be further aggravated and become chronic depression. Therefore, it is essential that you treat the condition appropriately and effectively; do not stop until you get the desired results.
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