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What You Need to Know about Postpartum Depression by Gabe Wood

By at November 29, 2011 | 5:00 am | Print

It’s been a couple of weeks since you’ve given birth and you can’t seem to get rid of those daunting “baby blues” that come along with childbirth. The energy levels you once felt before the pregnancy have diminished making it hard for you to have the motivation to do anything. You’re irritated and vulnerable, and have lost your appetite for all food. Hopelessness is plaguing your mind with negative thoughts, leaving you to feel like you’re a terrible mother. It feels like weeks since you’ve slept making it hard to maintain your concentration on simple tasks. The reason why you’re feeling these demoralizing problems after childbirth is because you’re possibly suffering from postpartum depression (PPSD).

Postpartum depression affects around “10-15% of all women anywhere between a month to a year after childbirth” says the Department of Health and Human Services website nih.gov. It’s not 100 percent clear as to what causes this depression, but many researchers have agreed that the dramatic shifting in hormonal balance (estrogen and progesterone) can be factored into this condition. The shifting of these chemical levels affects the mood regulation in the brain causing an array of different feelings and emotions to disperse throughout the body. Other factors linked to the increase of getting PPSD include marital problems, stress, earlier depression, and lack of social support. However, the good news is that this type of mood disorder is treatable through medication and therapy.

The treatment you receive for PPSD is based on the severity of your condition, as well as what your doctor suggests. The common pharmaceutical drugs administered to treat PPSD include the antidepressants (fluoxetine, sertraline, fluvoxamine, and venlafaxine) which have all shown great efficacy says womensmentalhealth.org. If you prefer not taking the chance of getting the cosmic amounts of side effects most drugs produce then, short-term behavioral cognitive therapy or interpersonal therapy will most likely be the best treatment for you. Both of these psychotherapies are administered by either a psychologist or therapist, and have had great success in treating PPSD.

Remember that almost 85% of all women receive some type of mood disorder after pregnancy, and you are not alone. It’s also important to not isolate yourself from different social networks (i.e. family, friends, work, and doctors) that can help support you through this dismal moment in your life. Bear in mind that it’s not your fault…it’s your body’s, and in no way is how you feel now going to determine how good of a mother you are or will become.

Works Cited
“Understanding Postpartum Depression: Common but Treatable.” nih.gov. Department of Health and Human Services, Dec. 2005. Web. 17 Oct. 2011.
“Postpartum Psychiatric Disorders.” womensmentalhealth.org. Massachusetts General Hospital, 2011. Web. 17 Oct. 2011.

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