What is PPD?
Postpartum depression is a mood disorder that affects about 15% of women shortly before and after childbirth. It is different than the “baby blues”, which affects up to 80% of mothers. The baby blues are usually mild and last a couple weeks before going away on their own. However, women with PPD experience feelings of extreme sadness and anxiety to an extent that the mother has a reduced ability to connect with and care for her baby. This may cause the baby to have problems with sleeping, eating, and behavior as he or she grows, which is why t is important that symptoms are differentiated from the baby blues and that the PPD is treated early.
Symptoms of PPD:
- Feeling sad, hopeless, empty, or overwhelmed.
- Crying more often than usual and for no apparent reason.
- Excessive worrying or anxiety.
- Feelings of moodiness, irritability, or restlessness.
- Oversleeping, or being unable to sleep when her baby is asleep.
- Trouble concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions.
- Loss of interest in activities that are usually enjoyable.
- Social withdrawal.
- Having trouble bonding or forming an emotional attachment with her baby.
- Thinking about harming herself or her baby.
Causes of PPD:
PPD has no single cause, but likely results form a myriad of physical or emotional factors such as:
- Hormonal changes after pregnancy.
- Constant sleep deprivation from childbirth.
- Feeling overwhelmed, less attractive, and/or anxious about your ability to care for a newborn.
Risk Factors of PPD:
- Previous history of depression or PPD.
- Your baby has health issues or other special needs.
- Strained relationship with your spouse or significant other.
- Financial problems or a weak support system.
- Experience of stressful events during the past year.