Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression or postpartum depression is depression that occurs after giving birth. This is caused by an imbalance of chemicals in the brain and is experienced by 10% of mothers who give birth.

Some people think that postpartum depression is the same as the baby blues , but that's not true. Baby blues are emotional changes ( mood swings ) that generally cause the mother to cry constantly, worry, and have difficulty sleeping for several days to 2 weeks after the baby is born.

Meanwhile , postpartum depression is more severe than baby blues . Postpartum depression makes sufferers feel hopeless, feel they are not being a good mother, and do not want to take care of their children.

Postpartum depression is not only experienced by mothers, but also can be experienced by fathers. Postpartum depression in fathers most often occurs 3–6 months after the baby is born. A father is more susceptible to developing postpartum depression when his wife also suffers from the condition.

Causes of Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is not caused by just one causal factor. Usually this condition is caused by a combination of physical and emotional factors.

After giving birth, the levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone in the mother's body will drop dramatically. This causes chemical changes in the brain that trigger mood swings.

Plus, babysitting activities can make a mother unable to rest enough to recover after giving birth. Lack of rest can lead to exhaustion, both physically and emotionally, which can eventually lead to postpartum depression .

Not only that, there are several other factors that can increase a person's risk of experiencing postpartum depression, including:

  • Have suffered from depression before or during pregnancy
  • Suffering from bipolar disorder
  • Have a family member who suffers from depression
  • Abusing NAPZA
  • Difficulty breastfeeding a child
  • Pregnant at a young age and have many children

The risk of developing postpartum depression also increases if the new mother experiences stressful events , for example:

  • Loss of a job
  • Financial problems
  • Conflict in the family
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Birth of twins
  • Babies born with certain diseases

Symptoms of Postpartum Depression

Symptoms of postpartum depression or postnatal depression can occur early in pregnancy, a few weeks after giving birth, or up to a year after the baby is born. When experiencing postpartum depression, a person will experience the following symptoms:

  • Feeling tired or without energy
  • Easily irritated and angry
  • Constant crying
  • Feeling restless for no apparent reason
  • Experiencing drastic mood swings
  • Loss of appetite or eating more than usual
  • Can't sleep ( insomnia ) or sleeps too long
  • Difficulty thinking clearly, concentrating, or making decisions
  • Not wanting to socialize with friends and family
  • Losing interest in activities he used to enjoy
  • Hopeless
  • Thinking of hurting herself or her baby
  • Having thoughts of death and wanting to commit suicide

When to see a doctor

It is very natural for a mother who has just given birth to feel tired, anxious, and lack enthusiasm in carrying out her daily activities. This is caused by a decrease in hormones and chemical changes in the brain.

However, immediately consult a doctor if you feel depressed for more than 2 weeks after giving birth. Especially if these feelings make it difficult for you to take care of the baby and carry out daily activities.

Postpartum depression sufferers still need to carry out routine control to the doctor, even though they don't feel any symptoms after treatment, because postpartum depression treatment can last up to several months.

Diagnosis of Postpartum Depression

The doctor will ask about the symptoms experienced by the patient, as well as conduct an in-depth interview about his feelings and thoughts. This is done to check the patient's mental state, as well as ensure that the patient has postpartum depression.

The doctor will also carry out a physical examination to find out the symptoms of postpartum depression , for example to see panda eyes as an indication that the patient has trouble sleeping, or look for scars that could indicate self-harm behavior. The physical examination also aims to see signs of other diseases.

Next, the doctor will ask the patient to undergo a postpartum depression screening . When undergoing screening, patients will be asked to answer a questionnaire containing questions related to the symptoms they are experiencing and the changes that have occurred to them.

In addition to postpartum depression screening , doctors can carry out supporting tests if postpartum depression is suspected to be caused by another disease. For example, the doctor will do a blood test to see if the symptoms a patient is experiencing are caused by an underactive thyroid gland .

Postpartum Depression Treatment

Postpartum depression sufferers need to get treatment, but the duration of treatment for each patient can vary. In general, treatment can be done with psychotherapy and medication, as well as support from the family.

Psychotherapy aims to enable patients to talk about what they feel or think, as well as to help them solve the problems they are facing. Sometimes, psychotherapy needs to involve a partner or other family members to help solve the problems the patient is experiencing.

In addition, doctors can educate patients and their families about emotional states, and ask patients to participate in emotional support groups. If needed, the doctor can also prescribe anti-anxiety drugs and antidepressant drugs .

Complications of Postpartum Depression

Complications due to postpartum depression can be experienced by mothers, fathers and children. These complications can cause problems in the family.

Complications for the mother

Untreated and long-lasting postpartum depression can develop into a chronic depressive disorder. This condition can increase the risk of developing major depression later in life.

Complications for the father

When mothers experience postpartum depression , fathers also have a high probability of experiencing postpartum depression.

Complications in children

Children of mothers with postpartum depression are more at risk for behavioral and emotional disturbances. As a result, children do not want to eat, cry continuously, and their speech is hampered.

Prevention of Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression cannot be prevented, but it can be detected early. With routine postnatal controls, doctors can monitor the mother's condition, especially if the mother has suffered from depression or postpartum depression .

If needed, the doctor can ask the mother to undergo counseling and take antidepressant drugs to prevent postpartum depression , both during pregnancy and after giving birth.

Mothers also need to establish good communication, solve problems, or make peace with partners, family and friends if they have problems.

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