Most women find having a baby can be exciting, joyful, and sometimes even anxiety-provoking. But this joyous time can become very difficult and distressing for women who experience peripartum depression (formerly postpartum depression). Peripartum depression relates to depression that happens during pregnancy or following childbirth.
Peripartum Depression is serious but also a treatable medical condition that causes extreme sadness, indifference, anxiety. It may also lead to changes in appetite, sleep, and energy, which carries risks for both baby and mother.
A recent study stated that peripartum depression is a condition that affects approximately one in seven women. Pregnancy is a very vulnerable time for a woman. Moreover, the period after childbirth brings forth so many changes. It’s a period when mothers often go through significant social, biological, hormonal, emotional, and financial changes. These changes can put some women at greater risk of developing mental health concerns, especially anxiety and depression.
The “baby blues” is a temporary condition that up to 70% of new mothers experience. It does not affect daily activities and does not require medical attention. It can cause a new mother to cry without reason, restlessness, anxiety, and irritability. These symptoms can last for a week or so and usually resolve without any treatment.
However, Peripartum Depression is distinct from the “baby blues” because it can be physically and emotionally debilitating and last for several months or longer. Seeking treatment is both important for the mother and child.
Peripartum depression can cause problems for a mother’s physical and mental health and her quality of life. Moreover, it can also affect a baby’s well-being, who may be born prematurely or with low birth weight. Peripartum Depression can lead to bonding problems with the baby and sleeping and feeding difficulties for the baby. Peripartum depression can cause problems for the child, in the long term, since they will be at greater risk for emotional, cognitive, verbal, social, and developmental deficits.
Symptoms of Peripartum Depression (formally known as Postpartum Depression):
- Feeling depressed or sad
- Loss of enjoyment or interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Appetite changes
- Sleep changes – Trouble sleeping, or too much sleep
- Increased fatigue or loss of energy
- Restlessness or agitation
- Feeling guilty or worthless
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions; brain fog
- Suicide or death thoughts
- Crying spells
- A lack of interest in the newborn, not feeling a bond
- Feeling like a “bad mom”
- Fear of harming oneself or the baby
A mother with peripartum depression may experience many of these symptoms, and the severity may range. These symptoms sometimes cause new moms to feel alone, isolated, ashamed, or guilty. A diagnosis of peripartum depression entails experiencing these symptoms during pregnancy or within four weeks after delivery.
Peripartum depression is an actual illness that needs serious attention. Pregnant women or new mothers who experience symptoms of peripartum depression should seek the help of a licensed clinical psychologist in Florida or psychiatrist. They may also benefit from seeking a medical evaluation from their doctor to rule out medical conditions with symptoms similar to depression (such as vitamin deficiencies or thyroid problems).
Contact your doctor if
- For more than two weeks, you have been experiencing many of the above symptoms.
- You have thoughts of harming yourself or your child.
- Feeling helpless and depressed.
- You have difficulties caring for your baby or with your daily tasks
Peripartum Depression Treatment
Many women may suffer in silence, dismissing their struggles as a normal part of pregnancy and childbirth, and fail to seek care. Treatment for depression during and after pregnancy is essential. Greater awareness and understanding of peripartum depression can lead to better outcomes for women and their babies.
Symptoms of peripartum depression can be managed through psychotherapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. Women suffering from depression who are pregnant or nursing should seek psychotherapy without medication as a first-line treatment option for mild symptoms. Pregnant or nursing women may consider medication if suffering from severe or moderate depression. Pregnant or nursing women should speak with their doctor about the benefits and risks of medication.
Most mothers who seek and engage in treatment for peripartum depression will find relief. However, they should remain in treatment even after they begin to feel better. If an individual terminates treatment too soon, symptoms may recur.
Postpartum Depression Treatment in Miami
You are already making the first step towards recovery if you are looking for postpartum depression treatment.
Hello, I’m Dr. Carolina Raeburn, a licensed Clinical Psychologist with a subspecialty in neuropsychology in Miami. I help people with emotional concerns and those adjusting to life changes. I offer coaching and bespoke psychotherapy for individuals and couples, providing cognitive behavioral therapy, depression treatment, anxiety treatment, panic attack treatment, stress management, as well as help those going through life changes, such as grief and loss, chronic and terminal illness, injuries, retirement, perfectionism, and much more.
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*All the information published in this article is for informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Any information provided here is offered in generic form. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.