What-Is-Postpartum-Depression-Symptoms-Causes- Diagnosis-Treatment-and-Prevention

Many women experience postpartum mood swings, as these fluctuations remain within their natural limits while developing into the so-called "postpartum depression" in others.

postpartum depression definition

Postpartum depression is a mood disorder that affects the mother after the birth of her baby, where the mother feels extreme sadness, anxiety, lack of concentration, sudden crying and insomnia, it becomes difficult for her to provide the necessary daily care for her baby or even for herself.

Postpartum depression is associated with physical, social and psychological changes associated with having a new baby.

Postpartum depression usually begins within 4 weeks after birth, lasts for a few weeks, and may last for months or years, if the mother does not get the necessary treatment.

Types of postpartum depression

There are three types of mood changes that can affect women after birth:

Postpartum mood swings

These natural fluctuations occur for most women in the days immediately after birth.

The new mother suffers from sudden mood swings, such as feeling happy and then feeling very sad.

You may cry for no reason and feel anxious, lonely and sad, be quick to provoke and disturb, and impatient.

Mood swings in women after birth may last only a few hours and may last for two weeks, but they do not require treatment from a doctor or health care provider.

Joining a support group of new mothers, or talking to a close mother helps a lot to overcome this condition.

Postpartum depression

It is the main theme of this article, it is necessary for every mother to be fully aware of the symptoms of postpartum depression, to go to the doctor for appropriate consultation when feeling any signs of depression, to avoid the development of the condition into postpartum psychosis.

Postpartum psychosis

Postpartum psychosis is a serious mental illness that may affect new mothers within the first three months after birth.

The mother loses her connection to reality, she develops auditory hallucinations (hearing things that don't actually happen, like someone talking), delusions (believing in irrational things and believing in their existence), visual hallucinations (seeing things that don't exist).

Women with postpartum psychosis need immediate treatment that includes medications.

Sometimes women are hospitalized to protect them from the risk of harming themselves or anyone else.

postpartum depression symptoms and sings

The symptoms of depression that a woman enters after birth are different according to the nature of each woman, the circumstances of her life, and appear in a range of behaviors:

• Sharp mood swings.

• Crying spells.

• Difficulty hanging on to your baby.

• Stay away from family and friends.

• Anorexia or eating more than usual.

• Inability to sleep (insomnia) or sleep for long periods.

• Fatigue and loss of energy.

• Anger and emotion.

• Reduced ability to think clearly, focus, or make decisions.

• Thoughts of self-harm or child abuse.

 Severe anxiety or panic attacks.

Causes of postpartum depression

There are many factors that increase the likelihood of postpartum depression, including physical and psychological factors and the lifestyle of women:

Physical changes

 Levels of estrogen and progesterone (female reproductive hormones) increase tenfold during pregnancy, then decrease sharply after birth.

 Three days after the woman's birth, the levels of these hormones are declining to pre-pregnancy levels.

 Health effects of childbirth, including incontinence, anemia, changes in blood pressure, and changes in metabolism.

Psychological and social factors

Social and psychological changes associated with having a new baby increase the risk of postpartum depression:
  •  Excessive concern about the child and the responsibilities of education and care or the suffering of the child from health problems or other special needs.
  • Loss of psychological and social support from the husband or those surrounding the mother.
  • Marital problems and marital relationship disorders with the husband.
  •  Depression or anxiety during pregnancy.
  •  Unplanned or unwanted pregnancy.
  •  Having twins or multiple births.

Diagnosis of postpartum depression

A diagnosis of depression is based on having a conversation with a woman and knowing her feelings about herself and the baby.

The medical team uses a questionnaire to gather information about:

• Ideas about self-harm

• Depression

• Indifference

• Inability to enjoy daily activities.

• Daily performance disorder at home.

• Difficulty communicating with people and the environment.

Treatment of postpartum depression

When feeling postpartum depression, see your doctor as soon as possible.

Treatment of depression has two types, either through medications or through psychotherapy.

Drug therapy

Antidepressants can be used to treat postpartum depression, because of their effective and direct effect on the brain, as well as their effective role in regulating mood.


Studies have found that cognitive-behavioral therapy can be successful in moderate cases of postpartum depression.

The mental health professional teaches the mother how to better manage the relationship between her thoughts and her state of mind, the aim is to change the thinking patterns so that they become more positive and change her perception and behavior towards herself and life.

How to prevent postpartum depression?

There are no effective ways to prevent postpartum depression, but some doctors believe that injecting the mother after birth with progesterone may reduce the risk of postpartum depression, as some believe that preparing to give birth from the first months of pregnancy may help to avoid postpartum depression.

Get ready to give birth by following some steps including:

• Learn about pregnancy and childbirth and the changes that the mother experiences after birth and see everything related to the first months of the child and his needs and how to care for him and deal with him.

• Reading about everything related to the first months of birth for the mother or child, which reduces the stress that the mother feels with the first child.

• Form social relationships, communicate with friends and relatives, seek help, help and advice.

• Eating healthy foods such as vegetables and fruits, not overeating fatty foods rich in fats and carbohydrates that are harmful to women's health and have an impact on their mental health as well.

• In the last months of pregnancy, women exercise light exercises to facilitate childbirth and reduce the negative emotions associated with them.

 Psychological support by spouse and relatives.

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