Pregnancy and Postpartum Depression
By Ashley Chapman
Starting a family is one of the most beautiful moments in your life. While having a baby takes a lot of planning and preparation, there is one health concern that is not discussed enough. Postpartum depression is a serious health concern that occurs in women who have recently given birth. Read more to find out what postpartum depression is, the symptoms, and possible treatments.
What is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression occurs in women who have just recently had a baby. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 9 women experience symptoms of postpartum depression. It is also important to know that fathers may also experience a form of depression after the birth of a new child.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
If you have recently had a baby, it is normal to experience what is known as "baby blues." These symptoms occur only for a few days after delivering and may include feelings of sadness, worry or fatigue. However, if you are experiencing these types of feelings longer than a few days you may be suffering from postpartum depression.
Some common signs and symptoms of postpartum depression may include:
- Excessive crying
- Anxiety attacks
- Thoughts of suicide
- Loss of appetite
- Inability to bond with your baby
Possible Risk Factors
If you are thinking about having a baby, it is important to know the risk factors of developing postpartum depression. Being aware of your risk factors can help you and your doctor look out for symptoms and treat your depression sooner.
Some risk factors of developing postpartum depression include:
- Your baby has health problems
- You experienced postpartum depression in your previous pregnancies
- History of depression in your family
- Difficulty breastfeeding
- Weak support system
The best option for treating postpartum depression is to be preventative. If you are aware of your risk factors, sharing these with your doctor when you find out that you are expecting is important.
Even with preventative measures, you may still experience postpartum depression. Treatment may include speaking to your healthcare provider about seeing a therapist or a support group.
Discussing Your Pregnancy With Family and Friends
While postpartum depression occurs in women more than it is talked about, it can be important to talk with your friends and family who have experienced a pregnancy. Talking about how you are feeling can help you with connecting with others who have experienced similar feelings or can offer emotional support.
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