Your Pregnancy After 35 : After Baby’s Birth (part 9) - Different Degrees of Depression, Causes of Postpartum Distress Syndrome

- Give Up Coffee For Beautiful Breasts
- Welcome to your First Trimester
- Welcome to your Second Trimester
- Welcome to your Third Trimester

Different Degrees of Depression

There are different degrees of depression. The mildest form is baby blues. Up to 80% of all women have “baby blues.” They usually appear between 2 days and 2 weeks after the baby is born. They are temporary and usually leave as quickly as they come. This situation lasts only a couple of weeks, and symptoms do not worsen.

A more serious version of postpartum distress is called postpartum depression (PPD). It affects about 10% of all new mothers. The difference between baby blues and postpartum depression lies in the frequency, intensity and duration of symptoms.

PPD can occur from 2 weeks to 1 year after the birth. A mother may have feelings of anger, confusion, panic and hopelessness. She may experience changes in her eating and sleeping patterns. She may fear she will hurt her baby or feel as if she is going crazy. Anxiety is one of the major symptoms of PPD.

The most serious form of postpartum distress is postpartum psychosis (PPP). The woman may have hallucinations, think about suicide or try to harm the baby. Many women who develop postpartum psychosis also exhibit signs of bipolar mood disorder, which is unrelated to childbirth. Discuss this situation with your healthcare provider if you are concerned.

Your Appearance

After your baby’s birth, you may be concerned about your appearance. Although you won’t immediately regain your prepregnancy figure, there are a few things you can do to look and feel better.

Buy and wear a well-fitting, supportive nursing bra.

Oversized shirts (your partner’s may do the trick) offer you variety. Stay away from your maternity clothes, which you probably want to burn anyway.

Wear tops untucked—wait a little while for tummy muscles to tighten up before tucking tops in.

Wear comfortable drawstring pants, elastic-waist or stretch pants.

A loose-fitting dress can be flattering because it doesn’t hug your curves.

Don’t wear sloppy clothes, such as sweatshirts and sweat pants, very often; sometimes when you wear sloppy clothes, you feel sloppy.

After you give birth, if you believe you are suffering from some form of postpartum distress syndrome, contact your healthcare provider. Every postpartum reaction, whether mild or severe, is usually temporary and treatable.

It’s normal to feel extremely tired, especially after the hard work of labor and delivery and adjusting to the demands of being a new mom. However, if after 2 weeks of motherhood you’re just as exhausted as you were shortly after you delivered, you may be at risk of developing postpartum depression.

Causes of Postpartum Distress Syndrome

Researchers aren’t sure what causes postpartum distress; not all women experience it. A woman’s individual sensitivity to hormonal changes may be part of the cause; the drop in estrogen and progesterone after delivery may contribute to PPDS.

A new mother must make many adjustments, and many demands are placed on her; either or both of these situations may cause distress. If you had a Cesarean delivery, you may also be at greater risk for postpartum depression.

Other possible factors include a family history of depression, lack of familial support after the birth, isolation and chronic fatigue. You may also be at higher risk of suffering from PPDS if:

your mother or sister suffered from the problem—it seems to run in families

you suffered from PPDS with a previous pregnancy—chances are you’ll have the problem again

you had fertility treatments to achieve this pregnancy—hormone fluctuations may be more severe, which may cause PPDS

you suffered extreme PMS before the pregnancy—hormonal imbalances may be greater after the birth

you have a personal history of depression or you suffered from untreated depression before pregnancy

you have experienced any major life changes recently—you may experience a hormonal drop as a result

you are anxious or have low self-esteem

you have a struggling relationship with baby’s father

your access to finances and health care is limited

you experience little social support

you had more than one baby

you have a colicky or high-maintenance baby

you experienced a lack of sleep during pregnancy, you sleep less than 6 hours in a 24-hour period or you wake 3 or more times a night

In addition, if you answer “most of the time” or “some of the time” to any of the following questions, you may be at increased risk.

I blame myself when things go wrong (even if you have nothing to do with them).

I often feel scared or panicked without good reason.

I am anxious or worried without good reason.

 
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- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Labor and Delivery (part 16) - What Happens after Your Baby Is Born
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Labor and Delivery (part 15) - Cesarean Delivery, Vaginal Delivery of Your Baby
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Labor and Delivery (part 14) - What Happens after Your Baby Is Born
- Your Pregnancy After 35 : Labor and Delivery (part 13) - When You’re Overdue
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