Postpartum depression (PPD) has recently started getting a lot of attention on the news and social media because more celebrities are daring to come out and speak about their issues. Postpartum depression is a real condition that affects a percentage of new mothers, but it comes with a lot of stigmas attached to it, often making it difficult for women to express their concerns or even seek help.
What Is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression is defined as a condition that can affect new mothers, sometimes a few weeks after delivery. The symptoms can also appear as late as six months after the baby is born and can be confused with clinical depression.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, PPD may arise from various emotional and physical causes and can, in its most severe form, last up to three years after giving birth. Nearly one in seven women in the U.S. may develop PPD in varying degrees, and while some seek medical and emotional help there are many others who suffer in silence.
What starts as feelings of inadequacy as a mother often leads to symptoms like loss of interest in everyday tasks, changes in appetite leading to weight gain or loss, overwhelming feeling of guilt, fatigue, constant crying, irritability and being disinterested in caring for the baby.
It is, of course, recommended to seek medical help if these symptoms linger longer than short episodes because they could signal PPD. Medical experts recommend psychotherapy as a form of treatment and could combine sessions with a therapist and with close family and friends. More severe cases, though, might require antidepressants to help cope with the symptoms.
Coping with Postpartum Depression
Apart from seeking medical and emotional support, new mothers might be able to cope with their PPD symptoms by incorporating the following into their schedule:
Studies conducted in Australia show that exercise might act as an antidepressant for mothers dealing with PPD. Exercising every day, while caring for an infant, might be difficult and it is recommended to try and exercise as often as possible.
Follow a healthy diet:
Incorporating whole foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains and healthy fats like fish oil and nut butters is recommended for increasing the intake of nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids.
Breastfeed your baby:
Breastfeeding your baby might help reduce the risk of developing PPD, so if you are already doing it, don’t stop now. On the other hand, some women develop a condition called Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex (D-MER) when breastfeeding. These women may benefit from counseling sessions with specialists.
Allot time for yourself:
Severe lack of sleep is directly linked to depression, especially when it comes to new mothers with young infants who have erratic sleep patterns. It is recommended to find time for yourself, whenever possible, to take a nap, talk to a friend or simply sit for a bit.
Build a support team:
Be it your parents or in-laws who can step in to take care of the baby for a few hours, your best friend who can swing by for an occasional chat or your partner who can take over household chores, a support team can help you cope with everyday ups and downs while bonding with the baby.
Motherhood is a blessed experience that should not be hampered by depression; so if you or someone you know is dealing with PPD, seek medical support to cope with and eventually get cured of postpartum depression.
The content of this Website is for informational purposes only, is general in nature and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, and does not constitute professional advice. The information on this Website should not be considered as complete and does not cover all diseases, ailments, physical conditions, or their treatment. You should consult with your physician before beginning any exercise, weight loss, or health care program and/or any of the beauty treatments.
How to Deal with Postpartum Depression: 7 Tips for Coping. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/how-to-deal-with-postpartum-depression#outlook
BabyCenter Medical Advisory Board. (2018, September 05). Postpartum depression. Retrieved from https://www.babycenter.com/0_postpartum-depression_227.bc
Italie, L. (2018, August 30). Know what to say when postpartum depression hits a loved one. Retrieved from https://www.apnews.com/065b50669e5848118a00bcd1b72b6761/Know-what-to-say-when-postpartum-depression-hits-a-loved-one