There are different classes of depression, a condition that emanates from the state of your mind. One of the classes, post partum depression, commonly referred to as postnatal depression is a class of depression that sets in after childbirth. Although mostly effecting women, men too are susceptible to the condition, to a lesser degree. Note that although the condition commonly sets in after childbirth, you can have it once you attain pregnancy, in which case it can last for up to a year. You are likely to confuse post partum depression (PPD) with post partum exhaustion (PPE), which is associated with lack of adequate sleep and hormonal changes that occur after childbirth. Unlike PPD, PPE does not last for long and fades away in a few days. PPE presents varied symptoms that include tearfulness, sleeplessness, lack of concentration and headache amongst others.
Post partum depression, postnatal depression or maternity blues as you may know it show through various symptoms that you are bound to experience within the first year of delivery. Such include feeling of sadness, hopelessness, feeling of guilt, low self-esteem, sleeplessness, exhaustion, general body discomfort, fatigue, loneliness, lack of interest in the baby, panic attacks, low sex drive and impaired judgments. You are at great risk of suffering from PPD if you avoid breast-feeding, you have a history of depression, smoke cigarettes, if yours was unplanned pregnancy and low purchasing power amongst others. Unmanaged pregnancy stress has also been identified to be a major cause of post partum depression.
PPD has serious effects not only restricted to mother-child relationship. The effect spills over to your relationship with the father. You do not bother to take care of your baby even at time of need. Your attitude towards the baby turns out to be negative. This is likely to affect your baby healthwise and psychologically. Your baby is bound to develop fear, which can have long-term effects even into adulthood. Your relationship with the baby’s father is bound to be strained. You look at him as the cause of your problem rather than a person who can help you take care of the baby and provide emotional support. More importantly however, your own health becomes at risk. Without proper help, support and treatment, you are likely to suffer other health problems.
Causes of Post Partum Depression
Although causes of PPD are uncertain, various factors are linked to its occurrence. Such include:
- Lack of vitamins – Although not confirmed, lack of adequate vitamin and minerals supply especially during pregnancy is thought to contribute to the occurrence of PPD. For this reason, and to be on the safe side after delivery, it is important to ensure that your body receives adequate supply of varied vitamins, which you can obtain by eating varied foods including fruits and vegetables.
- Hormonal changes – Your hormonal levels during pregnancy are definitely high during pregnancy. Once you deliver, the levels drop and this is thought to contribute to the development of PPD.
- Lifestyle change – Your lifestyle definitely changes after delivery. As you take all necessary measures to care for your baby, you are bound to forget taking care of yourself. This leaves you exhausted and can possibly lead to PPD.
- Attitude – Your attitude towards your pregnancy from the onset determines whether you will suffer PPD or not.
PPD treatment is available through various mechanisms. Your doctor is obligated to evaluate your mental health and eliminate the likelihood of any physiological problem. Although various medications are available, your doctor is likely to propose a healthy diet routine, joining support groups and positive change in lifestyle.