Depression that arises after giving birth is known as postpartum depression. This is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, and it affects 10% of all moms who give birth.
Some people confuse postpartum depression with baby blues, but this is not the case. The mother’s emotional fluctuations (mood swings) lead her to cry excessively, worry and have difficulties sleeping. for a few days to two weeks after the baby is delivered.
Postpartum depression, on the other hand, is a more serious disorder than the baby blues. Sufferers with depression after childbirth feel gloomy, unworthy of being a decent mother, and unwilling to care for their children.
Not only moms, but even fathers, can suffer from postpartum heaviness. The most common time for fathers to experience postpartum depression is 3-6 months after the baby is born. When a father’s wife is also suffering from postpartum heaviness, he is more vulnerable.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
Symptoms of postpartum depression or postnatal depression can occur in early pregnancy, a few weeks after giving birth, or up to a year after the baby is born. When experiencing depression after childbirth, a person will experience the following symptoms:
- Feeling tired or not having enough energy.
- Easily irritated and angry.
- Crying constantly.
- Feeling restless for no apparent reason.
- Experiencing drastic mood swings.
- Loss of appetite or eating more than usual.
- Unable to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too long.
- Difficulty thinking clearly, concentrating, or making decisions.
- Does not want to socialize with friends and family.
- Loss of interest in activities he used to enjoy.
- Thinking of hurting herself or her baby.
- The emergence of thoughts about death and suicidal thoughts.
Causes of Postpartum Depression
Postnatal depression is not caused by one factor alone. 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.
In addition, babysitting activities can prevent mothers from getting enough rest to recover after giving birth. Lack of rest can lead to exhaustion, both physically and emotionally, and ultimately trigger depression after childbirth.
Not only that, there are several factors that can increase a person’s risk of experiencing postpartum heaviness, including:
- Have suffered from depression before or during
- Suffering from bipolar disorder.
- There is a family member who suffers from depression.
- Abusing drugs.
- Difficulty breastfeeding a child.
- Pregnant at a young age and have many children.
In addition, the risk of depression after childbirth will also increase if the mother who has just given birth experiences a stressful event, for example, has just lost her job, has financial problems, is involved in the conflict in the family, suffers from pregnancy complications, gives birth to twins, or the baby is born with an illness. certain.
Diagnosis of Postpartum Depression
The psychologist or psychiatrist will ask about the symptoms experienced by the patient, as well as to conduct an in-depth interview about the patient’s feelings and thoughts. This is done to check the patient’s mental condition, as well as to ensure that the patient has postpartum depression.
The doctor will also perform a physical examination to determine the symptoms of postpartum depression, for example, to see panda eyes as an indication that the patient is having trouble sleeping or look for scars as a sign that the patient is hurting himself. Physical examination also aims to look for signs of other diseases.
Next, the psychiatrist or psychologist will ask the sufferer to undergo postpartum heaviness screening. When undergoing screening, patients will be asked to answer a questionnaire. The questions given relate to the symptoms experienced by the patient and the changes in him.
In addition to screening for postpartum heaviness, doctors can perform additional tests if depression after childbirth is suspected to be caused by another disease. For example, the doctor will perform blood tests to determine if the patient’s symptoms are caused by an underactive thyroid gland.
Treatment for Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression sufferers must seek treatment, however, the length of treatment varies from patient to patient. In general, psychotherapy and medication, as well as family support, can be used to treat depression.
Psychotherapy is used to allow patients to express how they feel or think, as well as to assist them in resolving their issues. Psychotherapy may sometimes involve the involvement of a partner or other family members to assist in the resolution of the sufferer’s problems.
Psychologists and psychiatrists can also educate patients and their families about emotional disorders and encourage them to join emotional support groups. Doctors can also give anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications if necessary.
Postpartum Depression Prevention
Although it is impossible to prevent postpartum depression, it can be diagnosed early. Doctors can monitor the mother’s state with regular postpartum control, especially if the mother has previously suffered from depression or postpartum depression.
If necessary, the doctor may recommend that the woman seek counselling and/or take antidepressant medication to prevent postpartum depression, both throughout pregnancy and after delivery. If they have challenges, mothers must build effective communication, address problems, or make peace with their partners, family, and friends.