Postpartum depression can be dangerous. Here’s how to recognize this and seek treatment:

Dr. Trachtenberg added that women can also develop other postpartum mental health conditions, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress syndrome, if the childbirth experience is traumatic. Postpartum anxiety can also occur in parallel with postpartum depression, physical panic attacks, insomnia, relentless fear of baby’s health and safety, inability to sit still, frequent headaches and stomach pains. It may include symptoms such as pain and discomfort.

Dr. Allison Stube, MD, Associate Professor of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Lead Author of the American Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology Postnatal care recommendationsWhen deciding whether or not you have postpartum depression, ask the patient two important questions. Can I sleep when my baby is sleeping? And do they have any scary thoughts? A mother with strong anxiety, she said she couldn’t sleep when she was exhausted. Intrusive thoughts, such as excessive anxiety about getting the baby off the stairs or being involved in a car accident, can also indicate postpartum depression.

The main symptoms of postpartum depression are According to the Centers for Disease Control and Preventioninclude:

  • Feel sad, desperate, overwhelming, guilty or angry

  • Cry often

  • Feeling numb, moving away from your baby, not wanting to be around your baby, or worrying will hurt your baby

  • Feel incapable or incompetent to take care of your baby, including feeling guilty about “not good enough”

  • Unexplained physical symptoms such as headache, nausea and abdominal pain

  • Finding joy in any activity or staying away from others

  • Lack of energy and problems with concentration

  • Experienced sleep difficulties, such as being unable to fall asleep

Anyone can develop postpartum depression, but some women have higher odds due to their personal mental health history and social conditions.

Having one or more of the following risk factors for postpartum depression increases your chances of developing the condition:

  • Stressful life events, including traumatic childbirth

  • Inadequate social support, including being a single mother and experiencing domestic violence

  • Individual or family history of depression

  • Complications of pregnancy or childbirth, including preterm birth and hospitalization of the baby

  • Being a teenage mom

  • Give birth to twins or triplets

  • It was difficult to get pregnant

Although not “normal”, postpartum depression is common. “The most important thing is to let the mother know that it really happens and they are not alone,” he said. Trachtenberg said. “Often moms have this image that this should be the most beautiful and wonderful time of their life.” If that image doesn’t match reality, it “makes them feel out of control.” She said it could be a “cycle that can be done”. That’s when you need to seek professional help.

If your symptoms are severe (for example, if you feel you could harm yourself or your baby), go to the emergency room. Otherwise, contact your gynecologist, your child’s pediatrician, or your family doctor for treatment and mental health referrals. “Postpartum depression and anxiety may improve over time without intervention,” he said. “But treatment will speed up the process and allow her mother to enjoy her life with her baby right now, rather than waiting for more than a few months,” Snyder said.

Treatment includes medication, conversation therapy, behavioral and lifestyle changes (such as increased physical activity and baby breaks), or a combination of the three. Antidepressants, especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, are the “gold standard” for the treatment of postpartum depression and can be safely taken while breastfeeding, Dr. Snyder said.

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