Understanding Post-Partum Depression

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Health Assured team

15 August 2023

Sometimes referred to as “baby blues”, or more commonly, post-natal depression, post-partum depression affects roughly 20% of people who have recently given birth. New mothers may experience things like extreme changes in mood or sudden crying episodes that seemingly come out of nowhere.

While both of the terms post-natal and post-partum are used to describe this mental health issue, post-partum tends to refer to the mental health and wellbeing of the mother, instead of the child. Below are some of the most important things to know and understand about post-partum depression.

Symptoms of Post-Partum Depression

A high number of women will experience anxiety, mild depression, and being tearful for the first week or two after giving birth. Considering the number of changing hormones and added responsibilities that a new baby brings, this is perfectly normal and understandable.

However, if these symptoms persist, or the symptoms begin after the first few weeks after having a baby, then it could be a sign of post-natal/post-partum depression. This form of depressions can occur ay any time within the first 12 months of giving birth, and some of the most common symptoms are as follows:

  • A constant feeling of hopelessness, sadness, and low mood
  • A significant drop in energy or feeling tired constantly
  • Sleeping a lot during the day but finding it hard to sleep at night
  • Difficulty concentrating or making simple everyday decisions
  • Struggling to bond with your baby
  • Intrusive thoughts about harming your baby

What Causes Post-Partum Depression?

There’s no one universal cause of this condition, and the reasons for someone developing this form of depression can vary. It can also be triggered by experiences before becoming pregnant, post-pregnancy, or during pregnancy.

Below are some of the potential causes of post-partum depression: Stress and anxiety caused by money issues or living conditions

  • Complications during childbirth or pregnancy
  • Stress and anxiety caused by money issues or living conditions
  • Previously undiagnosed mental health problems
  • A lack of support from others during pregnancy
  • Verbal, mental, physical, or sexual abuse
  • Biological/hormonal changes during pregnancy
  • Unexpected sudden loss or bereavement

Unlike what many still refer to as the “baby blues”, this kind of depression won’t go away without active steps towards treatment and discussing how you feel with a medical professional.

Treating Post-Partum Depression

Treating this form of depression can come in the form of therapy, medication, and mental health counselling. But in other cases, lifestyle changes like diet, exercise, and mindfulness can also play a part in treating post-natal depression.

As always, before making any decisions regarding your mental health and how to treat it, it’s always best to discuss it with a mental health professional.

Post-Partum Depression: Final Thoughts

This form of depression can be managed and supported with the right guidance and help. Never forget that while this predominantly affects women, men are also able to develop post-partum depression.

Raising a child and caring for a newborn is one of the most rewarding but challenging things a person can ever do, regardless of gender, and there’s no shame in admitting when you need help.

Doing what’s best for you and your child is the first step towards better wellbeing in life and mental health at work. Never forget that our counsellors are ready to listen to you, 24/7, via our fully confidential helpline.

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