Studies have shown that about one in seven women goes through the postpartum depression experience sometime after giving birth. With many women, this is their first experience with depression, and because of that, they have difficulty handling the situation. By causing a state of ongoing sadness in women, the condition of postpartum depression disrupts the mother-and-child bonding experience. There is good news however, there are steps that a new mother can take in order to manage postpartum depression symptoms.
What is Postpartum Depression?
There is a difference between the traditional “baby blues” and postpartum depression. Baby blues normally resolve themselves after about a week. Baby blues are feelings of sadness a woman may have in the first few days after having a baby. Baby blues are often confused with postpartum depression. Postpartum means after giving birth. About 4 in 5 new moms (80 percent) have baby blues. Postpartum depression on the other hand is a condition that is sometimes caused by fluctuating hormones in the body, but studies have also found that the problem may also stem from an underactive thyroid gland. It is known that an underactive thyroid causes fatigue and low mood. When new mothers experience the symptoms of depression for a longer time period are encouraged to visit their doctors for a quick diagnosis. The best way to determine if the thyroid is functioning properly is through a blood test. This works, while also ruling out other possible causes for depression.
How Do Doctors Screen for Depression?
At the first visit to the doctor after the child is born, the physician will also provide a depression screening. The doctor will ask questions pertaining to the following:
- Level of interests in activities and hobbies
- Difficulty sleeping
- Feelings of well-being
- Feelings about the new baby
If your doctor notices that you are displaying a multiple number of these symptoms, they may suggest a routine that would include exercise, new mother vitamin supplements and possibly a prescription anti-depressant medication.
How Are Postpartum Depression Symptoms Managed?
There are a number of ways that postpartum depression symptoms are able to be managed. Through mental health counseling, new mothers can help realign their thinking and develop healthier mechanisms for coping during those times of stress and sadness that new mothers experience. Additionally, new mothers are given antidepressants, which have been known to be beneficial when taken along with psychotherapy. Often, working with their doctor helps to develop a treatment plan that doesn’t disrupt nursing the newborn infant.
You Can Manage Postpartum Depression Symptoms
Facing the idea of trying to manage postpartum depression symptoms alone can be a daunting proposition. Getting a prescribed medication is not always the only option. There are also things you can do at home to ease the symptoms of postpartum depression. While it can be tough with a new baby, get as much sleep as possible. A newborn child can be overwhelming to say the least. Do not be afraid to ask friends and loved ones for help in the first months of the infant’s life. Make it a point to ask for help, especially if this is your first child. Get plenty of exercise. Taking walks with your baby is an effective way to increase bonding with your child while also getting some exercise. You can also look for new mother support groups to strengthen your social circle. By taking the right steps, you can overcome postpartum depression and enjoy the time with your newborn baby!