Post Partum Depression

Depression after pregnancy is termed post partum depression or peri partum depression and this is usually triggered due to hormonal changes in a woman’s body. In the first 24 hours after childbirth the amount of estrogen and progesterone in a woman’s body returns to pre-pregnancy levels rapidly. Experts feel that this sudden change can often lead to depression. Yet another culprit could be the thyroid levels in the body which may also drop in a similar manner. In this case, a prescription of thyroid medicine given after a blood test confirms the fact might be the solution to post partum depression.

A woman suffering from post partum depression loves her child, but she may be convinced that she will not be able to be a good mother. Often post partum depression is confused with baby blues. But baby blues is an extremely common reaction following delivery with about 70 percent of new mothers experiencing this. It is not as impairing as post partum depression and does not last long either. Post partum depression can occur within days of delivery or even a year after. Symptoms of this kind of depression include sluggishness, fatigue, uncontrollable crying, lack of interest in the baby, mood swings, and fear of harming the baby or oneself.

Treatment for post partum depression would begin with a medical evaluation to rule out psychological problems and a psychiatric evaluation. Medication may be required in most cases. Support groups are also a good form of therapy as it lets the woman know that she is not alone in this. Women who feel better after treatment need to stick to their treatment plan for some more time because symptoms can recur. The most dangerous form of post partum depression would be psychotic episodes that have been found to lead to delusions and hallucinations.

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