What You Need to Know About Postpartum Depression

During pregnancy, you probably daydreamed about your baby’s arrival bringing happiness, pride, and love into your home. So if you’re feeling sad, hopeless, or depressed after giving birth, you may be confused, upset, or even guilty that your daydreams haven’t become a reality. It’s important to understand how common these feelings are and what treatments are available for postpartum depression (PPD).

Postpartum depression is not the same as “baby blues.”

Up to 80 percent of mothers experience “baby blues” during the first week or two after giving birth, which may cause mood swings, anxiety, crying, and difficulty sleeping. This is not the same as postpartum depression, which affects about 15 percent of mothers, whether they have other children or not. The intensity and long-lasting nature of postpartum depression can make it difficult to care for yourself and your baby.

Some symptoms of PPD include:

  • Depression or severe mood swings
  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Excessive crying, irritability, or anger
  • Difficulty bonding with the baby
  • Fear of being a bad mother
  • Withdrawing from social activities
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Low energy
  • Feeling guilty, shameful, or worthless
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Thoughts of self-harm or hurting the baby
  • Suicidal ideation

There are many risk factors for PPD.

Any mother can develop postpartum depression, but these factors may increase your risk:

  • History of depression or other mood disorders
  • Unwanted or difficult pregnancy
  • Premature birth
  • Having twins or triplets
  • Recent stress, such as divorce, relationship issues, or death/illness of a loved one
  • Serious health problems
  • Lack of an emotional support network
  • Drug or alcohol misuse
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Poor diet

Men can get postpartum depression, too.

Up to 25 percent of new dads experience depression after a baby is born, a condition known as paternal postpartum depression. Men with financial instability, relationship issues, a history of depression, or a partner with PPD are most at risk. If you’re a new father experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, contact your doctor for help.

Treatments are available for PPD.

If you notice signs of postpartum depression, treat it with these tips:

  • Take antidepressants or other medication prescribed by your doctor.
  • Seek counseling from a psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health professional.
  • Practice self-care, such as eating well, exercising, meditating, and getting massages.
  • Communicate with your partner about how they can help.
  • Join a support group where you can commiserate with other new parents.

While postpartum depression and other pregnancy complications are always possible, you and your partner may have made up your minds about becoming parents. If you previously had a vasectomy, the first step is to have it reversed. Dr. Joshua Green of the Center for Vasectomy Reversal is a leader in helping men become fathers. To learn more about vasectomy reversal, please contact our Sarasota, FL clinic at 941-894-6428 or schedule a free consultation online.