Most mothers suffer from the 'baby blues,' which usually occurs around three days after childbirth and can leave them feeling anxious, depressed, and upset for up to two weeks. However, this usually goes away and has not been linked to postnatal depression.
What Are The Symptoms Of Postnatal Depression? According to Nabta Health, postnatal depression is a common condition that affects one in ten women after giving birth. The feelings vary from person to person - some might feel sad or low, while others might feel angry or struggle with their identity.
It's a common belief that these feelings of depression and anxiety eventually pass, but it's not uncommon for them to last for several months (or even years).
Some of the symptoms of Postpartum Depression are: - Low mood and loss of self-confidence - Feeling as if you can't look after your baby - Worrying you're not bonding with your baby - Feeling empty, guilty, or ashamed - Mood swings and feeling irritable or angry
It's crucial to note there are no standard symptoms - everyone is different. What's more, the various elements do not have to be present simultaneously.
However, if you are experiencing any of symptoms listed above, you must seek help immediately. According to Mind, 80% of people with postnatal depression get better after treatment, so please reach out if you need support.
Treatments For Postnatal Depression The good news is that many treatment options are available for women suffering from postnatal depression. Treatment of postnatal depression is usually done with self-help, psychological therapy, medication, or a combination of two, or all of these. In most cases, medication is not needed because the symptoms of postnatal depression improve on their own within a few months.
Some women find one treatment especially helpful, while others prefer a combination of two or more. The key is to know your options and try different combinations until you find the best one for you.
Many healthcare professionals recommend a "watchful waiting" approach to treating postnatal depression. In many cases, you will be advised to wait for a few weeks before starting treatment and have regular appointments with your general practitioner.
Self-Help - Try to get as much sleep as possible: take naps whenever you can, and get your partner or other supportive person to help with night feeds.
- Talk about how you feel: talk to your partner, family, and friends about how you feel; support groups for new parents are available in many locations.
- Get some exercise: it will lift your mood, help you sleep better and give you more energy; walking is a good option as it's free, and you can take your baby with you in the stroller.
- Accept any offers of practical help: don't try to do everything yourself; ask friends and family members for specific things they could do to help you, such as cooking a meal or looking after other children while you spend time with the baby.
- Eat healthily: there are plenty of healthy recipes online!
- Drink plenty of water: gently increase your water consumption; aim for eight glasses a day
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine: these can make mood swings worse.
- Get some daylight every day: even if it's just for a short walk with the stroller.
- Try mindfulness: focus on living in the moment and being aware of your thoughts and feelings without judging them. (Special note: if this triggers unhealed memories of trauma, please stop mindfulness and contact a mental health professional to process and find healing.)
Psychological Therapy Psychological therapy can help you understand your feelings and find ways to manage them. It's unlikely to be offered as your only treatment for postnatal depression, but it may help if you find it hard to cope with the support or medication you've been offered.
It can be helpful to talk to someone who's not directly affected by your situation. A therapist will listen without judging you and can help you develop ways to deal with situations that make you feel depressed.
You may be able to have therapy on its own or alongside other treatments such as antidepressant medication. If you're not sure what's right for you, speak to your general practitioner.
Psychological therapy has proven to be very effective in helping women cope with this condition. One study found that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) could reduce depressive symptoms in mothers who had recently given birth. In addition, CBT has decreased stress levels in both new mothers and their partners after childbirth. It is essential for women experiencing these symptoms to seek professional help to get back on track as soon as possible.
Antidepressants While it's unclear what causes it, PND can be treated with antidepressants, such as SSRIs or SNRIs. These work by increasing the amount of serotonin and norepinephrine (aka noradrenaline) in your brain, improving mood, and reducing feelings of sadness and anxiety.
They're usually started at a low dose before gradually increasing to reduce the risk of side effects. It can take four to six weeks for them to work correctly, and you may need to keep taking them for 6-12 months after your symptoms have gone to prevent them from getting worse again.
Conclusion It is crucial to keep the conversation about Postnatal Depression, or PND, going. The rate is rising, yet it is still a taboo subject in society.
We thank the bold and brave Serena Williams for opening up about her experience.
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