These occur from 3rd or 4th day post-delivery and may even last up to 2-3 weeks. Around 1 in 8 women experience severe form of postpartum depression, which needs expert help. Typically, this appears within 4-6 weeks and may take up to months to resolve.
By Dr. Neena Bhal
It is a paradox that probably one of the happiest phases of a woman’s life can trigger off the worst of the mental state that she would ever experience in her life. Once the excitement of giving birth is over, a majority of women experience some form of low mood, which can cause irritability, crying episodes, mood swings, lack of appetite and so on. These are generally called postpartum blues. These occur from 3rd or 4th day post-delivery and may even last up to 2-3 weeks. Around 1 in 8 women experience severe form of postpartum depression, which needs expert help. Typically, this appears within 4-6 weeks and may take up to months to resolve.
What are the symptoms of Postpartum Depression?
At this time, a woman may experience sadness, low self-esteem and can have suicidal tendency as well. Remember, no laboratory, pathological tests or imaging is required to diagnose this condition. It is strange but true that in some cases even the new father can experience depression after childbirth.
What are the causes of Postpartum Depression?
The reasons for this condition include the following:
- Physical fatigue
- Lack of sleep
- Feeling of guilt, if not being able to feed the baby properly
- Inadequate lactation
- Low self-esteem because of physical disfigurement
- Sudden drop in estrogen and progesterone adds to the depressive feeling
How to overcome postpartum depression
A supportive family, partner, close friends can go a long way in helping a woman overcome postpartum blues. It helps when a woman can express her feelings. As we all know, suppressing emotions can be harmful.
An aspect to consider is that your primary doctor who guided you through pregnancy can also assist you to overcome postpartum blues. Sometimes simple tricks like having adequate sleep can help alleviate these symptoms. In fact, good hydration, nutritional food and talk therapy can pull a woman out of postpartum blues.
Nonetheless, there still would be several patients who would need professional counselling and medication. Going to a psychiatrist should no longer be a taboo. Fortunately, in India, when a baby arrives it is not your baby alone, it is the whole family’s! So, when the family offers help, whether it is mother, sister, husband or mother-in-law, do take their help and assistance whenever you need it. Accepting their help will not make you less of a mother. Most importantly, it is a must for the whole family to understand that this is only passing phase and this too shall pass!
DISCLAIMER: This article is for information purpose only. Please consult medical professional/s before starting any treatment or remedy.
(The author is Director, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Fortis La Femme, New Delhi. Views expressed are the author’s own.)