Many women experience the “baby blues” after childbirth. The baby blues include mood swings, feeling sad, anxious or overwhelmed, having crying spells, loss of appetite, or trouble sleeping. Symptoms of the baby blues are not severe, often remit quickly, and do not require treatment.
Postpartum Depression is defined as moderate to severe depression in women after childbirth. The depression may occur shortly after delivery or up to one year after having a child. However, most frequently, Postpartum Depression develops within the first 3 months after delivery.
The exact causes of postpartum depression are unknown, however it is believed that changes in hormone levels during and after pregnancy affect mood.
Non-hormonal factors that also affect mood during this period include:
- Changes in your body from pregnancy and delivery
- Changes in work and social relationships
- Having less time and freedom for yourself
- Lack of sleep
- Worries about your ability to be a good mother
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
Postpartum Depression symptoms are similar to those of Major Depressive Disorder and include:
- Depressed mood or severe mood swings
- Excessive crying
- Difficulty bonding with your baby
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Loss of appetite or eating much more than usual
- Inability to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping 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
- Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt or inadequacy
- Diminished ability to think clearly, concentrate or make decisions
- Severe anxiety and panic attacks
- Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
Treatment for Postpartum Depression
MPS PLLC clinicians specialize in the psychotherapy treatment of Postpartum Depression. Psychotherapy treatment of Postpartum depression has been found effective.
- Psychotherapy, Individual therapy is often recommended for women who suffer from Postpartum Depression. Therapy can teach skills to help individuals better cope with stress, identify feelings, solve problems, and set realistic goals. Family or relationship/couples counseling is also considered beneficial to aid in the adjustment of the new child.