Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression

Commonly known as the ‘baby blues’, postpartum depression is a deeply set medical condition that arises after a baby’s birth. Accompanying a strong feeling of anxiety, sadness and persisting tiredness, it is now a highly recognised mental health disorder amongst new mothers. Taking Indian statistics in account, almost 22% of mothers suffer from this issue.

Understanding postpartum depression

The reality of postpartum depression is different when understood in situational context. Often disregarded as a normal reaction to birth, postpartum depression is a commonly overlooked issue with many new mothers. Let’s take a look at it’s common symptoms –

  • Chronic changes in appetite
  • The feeling of being an inadequate mother/parent
  • Lack of interest in your baby; feeling anxious to handle them
  • Weeping excessively for no adequate reason
  • Feeling sad, worthless, guilty and unmotivated to act on things
  • Excessive worry

The reality of postpartum depression is different when understood in situational context. Often disregarded as a normal reaction to birth, postpartum depression is a commonly overlooked issue with many new mothers. Let’s take a look at it’s common symptoms –

  • Chronic changes in appetite
  • The feeling of being an inadequate mother/parent
  • Lack of interest in your baby; feeling anxious to handle them
  • Weeping excessively for no adequate reason
  • Feeling sad, worthless, guilty and unmotivated to act on things
  • Excessive worry

Significant Factors for Induction

There are multitudes of factors that play a role in the induction of postpartum depression in new mothers. It can affect mothers in any trimester of their pregnancy. Some of the major reasons that can result in development of postpartum depression include-

  • Psychological factors- These factors include constant stress, anxiety about the baby’s well being, depressive states, premenstrual syndrome and reluctance to have a baby. These can be triggered by various situational experiences like sexual abuse or past traumas.
  • Obstetric factors- Obstetric factors include risks that are associated with the birthing process. Pre term infant, emergency caesarean, traumatic hospitalisation, meconium passages and other health risks are included in obstetric factors that play a crucial role in induction of PPD.
  • Social factors- Such factors arise from lack of social and familial support. Domestic abuse, spousal sexual assault, objection against the baby’s gender and verbal abuse highly contribute to social factors responsible for developing PPD.
  • Lifestyle – Everyday habits and changing lifestyle drop a major concern in defining the emergence of PPD. Eating habits, physical activity and routine management of expecting mothers plays a major role. Absence of vitamin B6 triggers this onset via its conversion to tryptophan that affects mood from its release as serotonin in the body.

Techniques and Interventions

When it comes to mild to moderate postpartum depression, the first line of defence is treatment through psychotherapy, especially when mothers are reluctant to approach treatment with a newborn.

Psychotherapy and antidepressant drugs in combination are used for mothers experiencing moderate to severe depression. This course is moulded and adjusted keeping in mind the physiological conditions of the mother such as lactation, untreated and ongoing physical illnesses or other pharmacological recommendations.

The treatment plan comprises of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) in case SSRIs are ineffective.

Differential diagnosis for the condition may come in the form of baby blues, hyper or hypothyroidism & postpartum psychosis.

What happens if PPD remains untreated?

Since new mother’s experience an overwhelming sense of emotions, there may be instances where their symptoms may be treated in a way that negates social norms. In that case, PPD remains untreated and may result in-

  • Reduced emotional capability to parent
  • Trouble knowing one’s own needs and understanding the needs of the baby
  • Experiencing emotional imbalance
  • Increased risk of suicidal tendency

Apart from affecting mothers on multitudes of factors, it can also affect the baby’s overall development in many ways. This may include-

  • Learning incapabilities and delayed language development
  • Problems developing a mother-child bond
  • Inability to deal with stress and high-anxiety situations
  • Behavioural issues and agitated demeanour

Managing postpartum depression

If new mothers are experiencing such symptoms on a regular basis, make sure to consult your primary care giver at the earliest.

Talking to your healthcare provider about your medical treatment will provide you with many insights. One can pursue anti-anxiety, anti-depressants or personal and group therapy for new mothers to manage their symptoms.

A regular care plan with proper visitations to an expert can define a course of action which is fairy treatable at an early stage prognosis.

A combination of ways can be used to manage the effect of PPD. These are listed as follows-

  • Counselling and therapy- management of mild and moderate postpartum depression is easily identifiable through counselling and therapy sessions.
  • Support groups- Joining support groups can cathartically help mothers understand and deal with their situations effectively.
  • Self care- understanding one’s needs and knowing how to better manage one’s emotions.
  • Pharmacological therapies- SSRIs and SNRIs are the best course of action to deal with PPD in the best way possible.

If your loved one is experiencing such symptoms, it is important to note them and approach an expert for professional help. Approaching a psychiatrist in these circumstances will help alleviate the symptoms and lead a better and healthy lifestyle.

Dr. Gaurav Gupta, an experienced psychiatrist in the Delhi NCR area will be a perfect consultant for knowing your treatment plan and leading a mindful lifestyle in the long run.

To consult, you can connect through an appointment on the website —— or connect through our contact– for further information.

About the Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

+ 32 = 39

You may also like these

Holistic Treatment of Anxiety and Stress