DEFINITION; This is a complex mix of physical, emotional and behavioural changes that happen in some women after giving birth. According to the DSM-5, a manual used to diagnose mental disorders, postpartum depression is a form of major depression that begins within 4 weeks after delivery.
Postpartum depression may be mistaken for baby blues at first- but the signs and symptoms are more intense and last longer while the baby blue typically begin within the first 2-3 days after delivery and may last up to 2 weeks. The symptoms of baby blue symptoms will commonly include; mood swings, crying spells, anxiety and difficulty sleeping.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
Postpartum depression signs and symptoms may include;
Depressed mood or severe mood swings
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
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
The diagnosis of postpartum depression is based not only on the length of time between delivery and onset but on the severity of depression.
Postpartum depression can be treated with medications (anxiolitics) and counseling
WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR
If you are feeling depressed after your baby’s birth, you may be reluctant or embarrassed to admit it. Call your doctor and schedule an appointment if you experience any of the signs and symptoms or if the signs and symptoms have any of these features;
Do not fade after 2weeks
Make it hard for you to care for your baby
Make it hard complete everyday tasks
Include thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
Untreated, postpartum depression may last for many months or longer
POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION IN MEN
Also called Paternal post partum depression, has similar signs and symptoms as the female.
Some of the risk factors include;
Having relationship problems
Treatment and support is similar to maternal postpartum depression
The postpartum period is a very important period in the mother, father and child. So care should be taken to prevent depression in any of these groups.
The health care providers should be contacted adequately to prevent some of these complications; Psychosis, Eating Disorder, Death etc.
Dr Aliison Ondimiekumo Rollins jnr (MBBS NDU)