Pregnancy, childbirth, and the period following childbirth is the time in which a woman requires a lot of attention and care. The one great challenge that over 80 percent new mothers grapple with is postpartum depression. Sadly, despite its great prevalence, postpartum depression is often ignored or at least spoken of in disparaging tones. The “baby blues” are all too common and can quite often be a very serious concern. Postpartum depression can be diagnosed and managed effectively with the right amount of family support and medical attention. In a many cases, postpartum depression is short lived and lasts only about a fortnight. In some cases, though, the mother may need proper treatment at a maternity care hospital in Hyderabad or some other major city in the country.
Understanding Postpartum Depression
The first step to recovery is understanding and awareness. It is common for new mothers to feel tired, exhausted and even sleep deprived. This could cause moodiness and irritation. Postpartum depression goes well beyond this. It can impair the woman’s ability to function normally. Here are some of the symptoms exhibited by mothers with postpartum depression –
- Feeling sad, forlorn, overwhelmed, or emotionally numb
- Feeling irritable, angry, moody
- Crying often, usually over slight provocation or for no apparent reason
- Extreme anxiety or worry
- Having memory issues or trouble concentrating
- Inability to participate in enjoyable activities, withdrawal from company
- Losing interest in food or comfort eating
- Sleep disorders – sleeping too much or inability to sleep
- Inability to bond emotionally with the baby, detachment
- Thoughts of self-harm or harming the baby
- Frequent headaches, palpitations
It is important to remember that postpartum depression must be diagnosed by a healthcare professional or a doctor. If you suspect that a family member is suffering from serious postpartum psychosis and/or is harbouring thoughts of self-harm, it is important to consult a doctor at the best hospital for emergency in Hyderabad or any major city right away. Regular baby blues brought on by labour, fatigue, and hormonal activity is likely to settle within a fortnight. Any sign of depression or anxiety that lasts longer must be treated by a professional.
Treating Postpartum Depression
Most women suffering from postpartum depression (who seek medical help) are treated successfully with a combination of psychotherapy and medication. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and Interpersonal therapy (IT) have shown a great deal of improvement in women suffering from postpartum depression. Antidepressant medications and mood regulators are also sometimes prescribed by doctors. In some extreme cases of postpartum psychosis, hospitalization may be needed.
A Word of Caution
The arrival of a new baby is a time for joy, fervent activity, and excitement in most families. In the midst of this, however, if the new mother’s mental health is ignored and postpartum depression is left untreated, it could lead to dire consequences. This could lead to long term mental and emotional health issues for the mother, the child as he/she grows up and could hamper the dynamics of the family. It is important to remain supportive of the mother as she receives treatment for postpartum depression. This is the best time to offer help with caring the baby and with daily chores, running errands, offering emotional support, and simply providing care and company.