You are not alone.
It is not your fault.
There are treatments that can help you feel better.
Talk to your healthcare provider so you can start feeling like yourself again.
What You Should Know
“Depression during and after pregnancy occur more often than most people realize.
Depression is considered a postpartum illness if it affects the mother within 1 year of the baby’s birth. Late onset is common and just as real as early feelings of depression. Other life events or major stressors, such as having trouble conceiving, or losing a pregnancy, can also trigger depression.”
If you are concerned about your mental health, please contact your healthcare provider. There are treatment options, medicinal and otherwise, that can help you cope, heal, and thrive in your new life as a mother.
PPD is a spectrum, and does not always involve feelings of harm toward yourself or your baby, though it can. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms and suspect you may be dealing with PPD, contact your OBGYN, midwife, or general practitioner to see what treatment options may be best for you.
Postpartum depression can be identified by some of the following symptoms:
- Feeling sad or low
- Feeling more tired than usual, or having less energy during the day
- Feeling upset or annoyed at little things
- Having trouble thinking, concentrating or making decisions
- Having no appetite or habitually overeating
- Worried you might hurt yourself or feeling you want to die
- Having trouble enjoying things that used to be fun
- Feeling like you have nobody to talk to
- Feeling you can’t make it through the day
- Feeling worthless or hopeless
- Having headaches, backaches, or stomachaches
- Problems sleeping when baby sleeps, or sleeping too much
- Feeling numb or disconnected from your baby
- Having scary or negative thoughts toward your baby
- Worrying you might hurt your baby
- Feeling worried that something bad might happen
- Feeling guilty or ashamed at your job as a mom
(Checklist taken from www.ok.gov)
What to do if this sounds like you
Contact your OBGYN or primary care provider. There are treatment options ranging from homeopathic or natural remedies and therapies, to support groups or prescription medications. There is help and support out there for you! Don’t put off your own health; for your own sake, and the sake of your baby, you deserve to feel happy, stable, and well.
Since these post-partum disorders include a wide spectrum of symptoms, treatments vary widely as well. Medications are one option that many women find very effective, but non-medicinal treatments have also been found to reduce symptoms effectively. Talk to your doctor about a treatment program appropriate for your symptoms. Treatment options may include the following:
- Attending one-on-one or group therapy sessions,
- Prescription antidepressants,
- Improving general health including increased rest, physical activity, and healthy diet choices,
- Adding vitamins and supplements possibly including St. John’s Wart, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, saffron, or S-adenosylmethionine (SAM-e) to your diet (contact your physician before taking any supplements), or
- Other lifestyle changes to support healing, including, making time for self care, reaching out to family and friends for support, and simplifying day-to-day expectations to make success more feasible.
“Research shows that all of the things listed below put you at a higher risk for developing these illnesses. If you have any of these factors, you should discuss them with your medical provider so that you can plan ahead for care should you need it.
- A personal or family history of depression, anxiety, or postpartum depression
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD or PMS)
- Inadequate support in caring for the baby
- Financial stress
- Marital or relationship stress
- Complications or trauma in pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding
- A major recent life event: loss, house move, job loss
- Multiple child pregnancy
- Infant in Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU)
- History of infertility treatments
- Thyroid imbalance
- Any form of diabetes (type 1, type 2 or gestational)
“Approximately 15% of women experience significant depression following childbirth. The percentages are even higher for women who are also dealing with poverty, and can be twice as high for teen parents. Ten percent of women experience depression in pregnancy. In fact, perinatal depression is the most common complication of childbirth.
Postpartum and antepartum depression are temporary and treatable with professional help. If you feel you may be suffering from one of these illnesses, know that it is not your fault and you are not to blame.”
Other Postpartum Disorders
Depression is the most common postpartum disorder, but certainly not the only one. Some mothers find they experience symptoms of anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress, bi-polar disorder, and psychosis. Following are some links that can help you assess whether you may be experiencing one of these other postpartum disorders.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: http://www.postpartum.net/learn-more/pregnancy-or-postpartum-obsessive-symptoms/
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder: http://www.postpartum.net/learn-more/postpartum-post-traumatic-stress-disorder/
Bipolar Mood Disorders: http://www.postpartum.net/learn-more/bipolar-mood-disorders/
Postpartum Support International – 1-800-944-4773 –http://www.postpartum.net/
** PostpartumSupport International is not a crisis hotline and does not handle emergencies. People in crisis should call their physicians, their local emergency number or one of the National Emergency Hotlines listed below.
Map of local support groups by state – http://www.postpartum.net/get-help/locations/united-states/
National Suicide Prevention Hotline – 1-800-273-8255 –www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Non-USA Support Resources – http://www.postpartum.net/get-help/locations/international/