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Childbearing can be challenging, and different women respond differently to it. While some mothers get excited after childbirth, some fall into depression as they navigate this significant life transition. Depression that occurs after childbirth is known as postpartum depression. However, some women also get depressed during pregnancy.
The good news is that depression during and after pregnancy is treatable. But how do you know you have postpartum depression?
First, let us refresh our memory on what depression is.
Depression is more than just a feeling of sadness or worry that comes and goes. In fact, everyone feels sad sometimes. Depression is a serious mental health disorder that can last weeks or months and affects daily function.
You get less productive in whatever you do and may not even have the energy to get things done at all.
It's important to note that everyone doesn't experience depression the same way. While some will experience only a few symptoms, others will feel more. The bouts also last longer for some people than others.
Nevertheless, the following symptoms characterize depression:
Postpartum depression is virtually normal depression but also includes symptoms unique to a woman who just gave birth.
But note: postpartum depression goes beyond baby blues. Baby blues is also characterized by sadness, worry, and tiredness among new moms, but postpartum depression typically lasts longer and is more intense.
The symptoms of postpartum depression may include the following in addition to the symptoms of depression:
About 1 in 8 women experience postpartum depression, according to the CDC.
Further studies also show that the rate of depression amongst women during childbirth is on the rise. It increased by seven between the years 2000 and 2015.
Every pregnant woman and new mom needs support. The support shouldn't be only physical but also emotional. Women need a sense of connection more during this time as they sometimes feel overwhelmed by the thought of responsibility for the baby and the drastic life change.
If you are currently experiencing depression during pregnancy or as a new mom, make an appointment to discuss it with your mental health care provider as quickly as possible.
The best postpartum depression treatment includes a combination of medication and counseling while also having emotional support from loved ones.
Most people get better soon after they begin treatment, and getting better is the best thing you can do for yourself and the baby at this point. Just ensure you follow up on whatever medication or treatment suggestion your health care provider offers.