Dr. Brett Parkinson with Mountain Medical is here to break down the signs and symptoms.
Motherhood is a time you should be glowing with happiness…but instead, many new moms live clouded with shame. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, roughly 10-percent of new moms experience postpartum depression.
Although over half of women experience some mood-related disorder after childbirth, commonly referred to as the “baby blues,” fewer go on to develop full-blown postpartum depression. However, approximately one in eight new mothers will suffer from potentially debilitating postpartum depression (PPD).
Although many women experience a certain amount of depression after childbirth, if those depressed feelings persist for more than two weeks, a diagnosis of postpartum depression should be considered.
SIGN AND SYMPTOMS OF POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION:
• Depressed mood, often manifested by tearfulness, hopelessness and a feeling of emptiness
• Loss of interest/pleasure in daily activities
• Loss of appetite
• Fatigue, loss of energy
• Feelings of worthlessness, unwarranted guilt
• Inability to concentrate, make decisions or function effectively at home or work
• Suicidal thoughts
WHAT CAUSES POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION?
• Fluctuating hormone levels which occur after pregnancy
• Can also be triggered by miscarriage, stillbirth or even adoption
FACTORS THAT INCREASE THE RISK OF POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION
• History of depression (25% of women with previous depression will experience PPD; 75% of women with depression during pregnancy will be affected by PPD)
• Bipolar disorder (manic-depression)
• Family history of depression or bipolar disorder
• First-time pregnancy
• Poor support from partner, family and friends
EFFECTS OF UNTREATED POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION
• Difficulty bonding between mother and baby
• Developmental delay in baby: Motor, language and intellectual skills may lag behind same-age children
• Untreated, condition lasts an average of seven months; may be as long as a year
TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION
• Counseling: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (empowers woman to take charge of how she thinks and feels through thought and behavior modification) and/or interpersonal counseling (focuses on relationships and personal changes which come with a new baby)
• Antidepressant medication: Certain selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants are safe for breast feeding. Most women respond favorably to medication. (Of the SSRIs, Zoloft–the most widely studied–is usually the first choice.) Most women begin to feel better within 1 to 3 weeks of instituting medical therapy; however, in some cases improvement may not be apparent for 6 to 8 weeks. Antidepressants are typically used for at least 6 months.
Postpartum Psychosis is a relatively rare, but severe disorder manifested by psychotic symptoms which usually develop in the first three weeks postpartum, but can occur as early as 1 to 2 days after delivery. This condition is considered an emergency, requiring immediate treatment. Women with a personal or family history of bipolar disorder are at increased risk.
SYMPTOMS OF POSTPARTUM PSYCHOSIS
• Feelings of detachment from baby and others
• Sight-, smell- or touch-related hallucinations
• Detachment from reality
• Urge to hurt self, baby or others
If you, or someone you know, has thoughts of harming self, baby or another person call 911 or other Emergency Services.
National Suicide Hotline
National Hopeline Network: (800) 784-2433
National Child Abuse Hotline (800) 422-4453)
FACTS ABOUT MEN AND POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION:
• 2006 study from journal Pediatrics suggests that 10% of fathers suffer from moderate to severe PPD (more than twice the incidence of depression in the general male population)
• When depressed, men often don’t talk about feelings of emptiness or sadness; rather, they are more likely to be aggressive, irritable and sometimes even hostile
• May feel trapped or burdened by financial responsibility
• Often feel rejected by wife, displaced by new baby, leading to feelings of sadness or worthlessness
ABOUT MOUNTAIN MEDICAL PHYSICIAN SPECIALISTS
Mountain Medical Physician Specialists is a partnership of over 50 board-certified radiology and vascular professionals providing patients along the Northern Wasatch Front with the latest imaging and vascular care available. Mountain Medical professionals specialize in vascular surgery, vascular and interventional radiology, CT, neuroradiology, orthopedic imaging, MRI, women’s imaging, ultrasound, nuclear medicine and body imaging.
For more information visit www.mtnmedical.com.