Postpartum Depression – awareness of the signs

Postpartum depression—or depression that occurs after pregnancy and childbirth—is sometimes overlooked or even ignored either because women are too guilty to admit it, or doctors don't recognize it for what it is. Postpartum depression is triggered by major hormonal changes after pregnancy. Other possible causes of postpartum depression include a combination of sleep deprivation; complications with the birth, recovery or breastfeeding, a challenging baby; loss of control; and a general, overwhelming feeling of stress and frustration.

Symptoms of postpartum depression include no or little interest in the baby, fatigue, restlessness, sadness, a major change in appetite, withdrawal from people, loss of interest in pleasurable activities, excessive crying and being afraid of hurting the baby or oneself. Instead of feeling joy at the birth of their baby, many women with postpartum depression feel sadness, pain, indifference, fear, isolation, resentment, anxiety, frustration, anger and as a result, guilt.

There are many things you can do if you're dealing with postpartum depression. The first—and hardest—step is admitting it and telling someone so you can get help for postpartum depression. Next, it's important for you as a new mom suffering from postpartum depression to get some help with the baby and around the house. Something else that helps with postpartum depression is getting some rest and taking it easy—whether it's sleep, watching TV, lying down with a good book or taking a bath.

Furthermore, getting out of the house can help alleviate symptoms of postpartum depression, whether you go for a walk with your baby, go shopping together, visit someone nearby or run some errands. In addition, it's important to get away from your baby, whether it's for some alone time, a date night or a girl's night out.

If you're dealing with postpartum depression, you also need to avoid comparing yourself to other moms. It might also be helpful to join a postpartum support group or other mother's group. Finally, talk to your doctor, who may be able to further advise you. Some cases of postpartum depression require medication, like antidepressants, and counseling.

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