Having a baby is one of the most rewarding things we do as humans. It can also be incredibly difficult and unpredictable.
With so much focus on preparing for pregnancy, childbirth, and then taking care of your new arrival, the needs of the parturient often remain in the dust.
While it is normal to feel a little off-balance or overwhelmed with adjusting to your new life as a parent and sleep deprivation, the possibility and prevalence of postpartum mood disorders often go unchecked.
Postpartum mood disorders are very real and go beyond what many people think are the average “baby blues”. The effects on human birth can be long-lasting and often require professional treatment.
Let’s take a look at the postpartum mood disorders that people face.
PPD is the most well-known postpartum mood disorder and affects up to fifteen percent from new mothers and pregnant parents (a gender-neutral term).
It is not uncommon for a person giving birth to experience a case of postpartum blues after giving birth, especially on the fifth day after giving birth. This is most likely due to a drop in and adjustment in hormones after birth.
Postpartum depression, on the other hand, is the prevalence of symptoms related to depression, such as loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt, worthlessness, loss of energy, and possible suicidal thoughts that occur during pregnancy and even up to six months after birth.
It can be difficult to distinguish between normal effects of the physiological and lifestyle changes that come with a new parent and what is considered a depression.
Because of this, it’s important to have resources on hand and come up with a plan in case you need help. We will come back to this later.
Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder concern around one to three percent of postpartum people.
The general idea of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder tends to paint a picture of someone who is obsessively clean and tidy. While this may be true for some people, it is generally a misnomer.
Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can manifest as obsessive thoughts and rituals that surround the baby and their safety. This could look like consistently intrusive thoughts that the baby is harmed accidentally or intentionally, or that the parents are harming the baby themselves. You can also keep looking for the baby or investigating symptoms they or the baby are having.
While in the case of postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder parents feel disturbed by their intrusive thoughts and usually do not act on them, postpartum psychosis can be accompanied by delusions to which they may need to react, potentially putting themselves or their baby at risk.
Postpartum psychosis However, for seemingly no reason, someone with an underlying history of mental illness, such as: Bipolar disordermay have an increased risk.
Often times, postpartum psychosis is a medical emergency and may require medication and hospitalization. Some symptoms to look out for include extreme irritability, excessive mood swings, hallucinations and delusions, severe confusion, trouble sleeping, and racing thoughts.
Postpartum Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Around nine percent of people suffer from PTSD after giving birth. People with Postpartum PTSD may experience the same symptoms as someone with PTSD who was not pregnancy related, such as repeated reliving of trauma, flashbacks or nightmares, feelings of detachment, anxiety and nervousness, and more.
Childbirth is unpredictable, and there are certain causes and risk factors that can increase a person’s chance of developing postpartum PTSD. It is more common in people with a history of PTSD or in those with complicated labor or high-risk pregnancies, as well as in birth emergencies such as a Caesarean section or postpartum hemorrhage.
You never know what to expect during and after the birth. This is why it is important to have a plan so that support is available when needed.
A … have fourth trimester The existing care plan can be different for everyone. It can mean discontinuing a postpartum doulaPrepare and freeze meals in advance, or organize community support with friends and family. Knowing that your basic needs are being met can help you focus more on your baby and your healing.
Your support team may be able to help you process parts of your childbirth and postpartum experience that are affecting your mental health. Of course, not everyone has access to these resources. In this case, it can be helpful to do advance research on online forums and support groups and ask your health care providers for local resources.
It’s also important to mention that postpartum mood disorders can also occur in people who have experienced a pregnancy loss such as stillbirth or stillbirth Miscarriage. These are such tender times and may require even more support and understanding with the extra layers of loss.
Searching for help
While it is important to be prepared and have plans and support, a pregnancy-like life is unpredictable. If you or someone you know has problems in the postpartum period, getting professional help can be life-saving or transformative.
There are many therapists out there who specialize in postpartum mood disorders who know what tools they can currently use to support their clients. You could use Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), drugs, Desensitization and reprocessing of eye movements (EMDR) for PTSD and lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise and rest.
If you or someone you know has postpartum mood disorder, you don’t have to go through this alone. Access it and get the help you deserve.
Natasha’s passion for reproductive health began at the age of fourteen when she was present at the birth of her youngest sister. Her incredible experiences as a birthing doula gave her insights into the magical realm of childbirth, pregnancy and everything in between. Your role as an obstetrician is her way of serving as an activist. She uses writing as an important educational tool to bring about changes in our view of reproductive health as a whole.