As the name implies, postpartum depression refers to symptoms of depression in women.
Postpartum depression has similar symptoms to general depression disorder.
Emotional: long-term uncontrollable and unstable emotional states, crying, weariness, pessimism, low self-esteem, self-blame, tantrums, suicidal thoughts, or a tendency to hurt one’s baby
Physical: Insomnia or lethargy, loss of appetite, headache, dizziness, muscle pain, tinnitus. Individuals suffering depression often show inattentiveness, slow reactions, lack of interest, and negative thinking.
Factors leading to a psychological disorder could be physical, psychological, and/or social. One of the factors may be the main cause, or it may be a combination or two or three factors.
Factors contributing to depression:
Physiological: The level and secretion of estrogen and progesterone in the body changes during pregnancy. These levels increase during pregnancy but suddenly drop after childbirth. This causes a change in mood. Genetics and family history can further increase the chances of postpartum depression.
Psychological: Women face psychological and physical pressures during the transition to motherhood. Anxiety about how to raise children, chronic lack of sleep, and maternal sensitivity, may all contribute to postpartum depression.
Social: Most of the time, a family’s focus is on the newborn, and not the mother. However, the care, understanding and support of relatives around the mother is also very important. Although maternal depression is mostly associated with the baby and/or father, conflicts between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, and other life pressures can also be the cause of maternal depression.
How to effectively manage postpartum depression?
1. Familial understanding and support
Especially in 6 weeks postpartum, please give understanding and emotional support to the mother. Try to avoid conflict or verbal stimulation.
2. Keep a positive mindset
Gain an understanding of what postpartum depression is. Support and accompany the mother as she navigates through this experience. Encourage, rest, healthy eating, exercise, communication, and try to get in touch with other pregnant women or new mothers.
3. Seek professional help
Medical professional may recommend counseling for mild postpartum depression, or the use of medication (such as SSRIs) for more severe cases. Mothers who are breastfeeding should be mindful that drugs such as fluoxetine are secreted through breast milk.