What is Postpartum Depression?

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Becoming a new mom can be extremely challenging: getting used to life with a newborn, lack of sleep, new responsibilities, and physical effects from childbirth. But what about the deep emotional pain that some women feel after childbirth that doesn't seem to let up? While some people get 'baby blues', that will typically go away after a week or two. Postpartum depression on the other hand, is a severe form of clinical depression that is related to pregnancy and childbirth. 1 in 7 women with newborns report experiencing postpartum depression. 


What is Postpartum Depression? 

Postpartum is a type of depression that women get after they have a baby. It can start at any point during the baby's first year, but it is most common for the symptoms to start during the first 3 weeks after birth. The symptoms include: feeling sad, hopelessness, excessive crying, loss interest in eating, oversleeping or lack of sleeping, trouble focusing, and experiencing guilt over not feeling the want to bond with or care for your baby. This does not just affect first-time moms. It can happen with women after any pregnancy, even if they did not experience this when their other children were born.


Why does it happen?

There are many causes of Postpartum Depression, including:

Hormones 

Hormone levels rise during pregnancy. After the baby is born, the hormone levels drop suddenly. This quick change can trigger depression in some women. 

History of Depression

If someone has experienced depression before pregnancy, or it runs in the family, they have a higher chance of having Postpartum Depression.

Stress

Pregnancy, child birth, and becoming a new mother is extremely stressful. If the baby is born into a hectic, stressful environment, there is a higher chance for the mom to develop depression. This is also more common among women who have financial stress or problems with drugs and/or alcohol.


Diagnosis and Treatment

Only a therapist or doctor can diagnose someone with Postpartum Depression. If you think you may be experiencing this, we can pair you with a therapist who can help (click here). Working with a talk therapist can help you learn ways to recognize when you are having negative thoughts so you can learn how to deal with them. You can even discuss past relationships or stresses, so you can create a calmer environment for you and your baby.