Depression warning signs are easy to spot once you know what to look for. Although similar to the baby blues, signs and symptoms of post partum depression are different in that they last much longer and are far more intense.
There is a tremendous amount of excitement and happiness throughout a pregnancy. Most pregnancies are filled with joy and an eagerness to meet the new baby. However, it is not uncommon for some women to find that after the baby is born, an ironic unhappiness settles in.
Although the baby blues are common and a short-lived condition experienced by about 80 percent of new mothers, for some the depression is extreme and can last for up to a year after the birth of the baby.
This is not the baby blues; this is postpartum depression. This condition affects between 11 and 20 percent of new mothers.
The symptoms associated with postpartum depression can vary in degree from mother to mother; however there are a few basic signs of postpartum depression that are present in most cases.
One of the most common symptoms of postpartum depression is emotional changes. This includes being irritable or sensitive, having an unusually short temper, and experiencing tearful outbursts that seem unwarranted or out of place.
Feelings of sadness are also common, as are feelings of guilt and worthlessness or failure. The emotional impact of postpartum depression can range from mild to extreme in severity and may or may not be accompanied by other symptoms. The emotional changes caused by postpartum depression can snuff out the mother’s desire to carry out everyday tasks and caring for herself or the child may become difficult.
Many women suffering from postpartum depression complain that they feel as though they have not bonded with their child, even though they love their child. They may also suddenly lack the desire to spend time with friends or family and may no longer take pleasure in the activities they once enjoyed.
We all have the occasional negative or weird thought crop up that makes us say, ‘Whoa, where did that come from?’ But for a woman suffering from moderate to severe postpartum depression, the negative thoughts can be downright scary and persistent. Although the mother may feel that she loves her baby and would protect it at any cost, she may be plagued by thoughts of hurting the baby or may be overrun with the feeling that she simply has not forged a strong bond with her child as she naturally would have expected.
Thoughts of suicide may occur, even though the mother may not have any real desire to die. Most mothers suffering from postpartum depression do not act upon thoughts of hurting their baby or of committing suicide, although anyone who suffers from this particular symptom should definitely speak to their doctor as soon as possible.
The physical symptoms of postpartum depression can be almost as trying as the mental and emotional effects. Aches and pains in her bones or muscles may seem persistent and unfounded. Recurring headaches, stomachaches, and backaches are other common complaints of those who suffer from postpartum depression. The new mom may feel fatigued or exhausted, even when she has had adequate rest. She might also experience insomnia, or the inability to fall asleep or maintain a deep and restful sleep.
Postpartum depression does not have to replace the joys of having a new child. By addressing the issue as soon as possible, mothers who suffer from this disorder can regain the happiness they are entitled to and move on to enjoy their life and their new child.
The health information in this website is for educational purposes only and is not providing medical or professional advice. It should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. If you have or suspect you might have any health problems, you should consult a physician.
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"No mother has to suffer from PPD needlessly. This is a fact. But until you know what you're up against, you'll still be trapped - without knowing why! A typical example is the common misconception that depression is "all just in the mind." Your first step is to keep an open mind; and allow Laura to take you by the hand and guide you step by step through the PPD universe. Using a "wellness" approach, and with her usual friendly and informative style, trust me, she can help you help yourself getting out of the rut - naturally - in no time."
- Naturopath Alex Leong, B.A.S.M.
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Sydney Z. Spiesel, Ph DMD Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Yale University School of Medicine
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