Talking To Your Health Care Provider About Your Mental Health
Communicating well with your health care provider can improve your care and help you both make good choices about your health. Read our Tips for Talking With Your Health Care Provider to help prepare for and get the most out of your visit. For additional resources, including questions to ask a provider, visit the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
What Can Cause Postnatal Depression
There are many theories about what causes after childbirth, but none have been clearly proven. For a long time it was thought that hormonal changes were the main reason, but its not clear whether this is true.
Motherhood is often seen as something that is natural and fulfilling, and it quite often is. But motherhood can also be difficult and challenging at times, both physically and mentally. And women often dont get the support and help they need. So it isnt surprising that some women react to the struggles and difficulties they are having by developing after a while. Some women become depressed out of the blue too. That can happen at any time of life, not just after giving birth.
The following women are more likely to develop postnatal :
- Women who have already had anxiety disorders or in the past.
- Women who experienced stress and stressful situations during pregnancy and after childbirth.
- Women who are in a bad relationship or who dont live with their partner, as well as those who have experienced domestic abuse and who generally have less social support.
Symptoms Of Peripartum Depression
Symptoms of Peripartum Depression include:5
- Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Crying for no reason
- Lack of interest in the baby, not feeling bonded to the baby, or feeling very anxious about/around the baby
- Feelings of being a bad mother
- Fear of harming the baby or oneself
A woman experiencing peripartum depression usually has several of these symptoms, and the symptoms and their severity may change. These symptoms may cause new mothers to feel isolated, guilty, or ashamed. To be diagnosed with peripartum depression, symptoms must begin during pregnancy or within four weeks following delivery.
Many women with peripartum depression also experience symptoms of anxiety. One study found that nearly two-thirds of women with peripartum depression also had an anxiety disorder.6
While there is no specific diagnostic test for peripartum depression, it is a real illness that should be taken seriously. Any pregnant woman or new mother who experiences the symptoms of peripartum depression should seek evaluation by a medical professional an internal medicine doctor or an OB-GYN, who can make referrals to a psychiatrist or other mental health professional. Assessment should include a psychiatric evaluation and a medical evaluation to rule out physical problems that may have symptoms similar to depression .
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Treating Postpartum Depression In Men
Untreated, postpartum depression can cause marital and family problems. It can even affect the childs growth and development. Fortunately, it can be treated.
Treatment for men is the same as for women: medicine, such as an antidepressant, and/or counseling. Treatment may focus on the cause of a mans depression. For some, being a parent may feel overwhelming and they wonder if they are up to the task. Teaching parenting skills may boost dads confidence and reduce their depression.
New dads can also seek help at UPMC Central Pa. behavioral health. Call them at 717-231-8360.
Pregnancy And Birth: Depression After Childbirth What Can Help
Pregnant women usually expect the days and weeks following the birth of their child to be a happy time. But many have also heard of the baby blues: sadness and severe mood swings that often start a few days after giving birth. If the sadness doesnt go away, it might be the start of .
Depression after childbirth is called postnatal . It’s very similar to the kind of depression that can affect people in any phase of life. Except for one major difference: Mothers often feel very guilty and worry about not being able to care properly for their baby. Many mothers feel too ashamed to speak with others about how they are feeling. They are afraid of not living up to the idea of a good mother and might become more and more withdrawn. Some women say that they no longer recognize themselves.
Taking care of a newborn baby is a real challenge. Some women dont get the emotional and practical help that they need. It’s not always easy to deal with all of the changes that need to be made to care full-time for a new baby. Coping with the everyday stress and getting used to your new life can be very difficult and sometimes it may even be depressing.
But these phases usually dont last long, and go away by themselves once things have settled down a bit. If it turns into a lasting , though, it can greatly affect the mothers relationship with her child. So it’s important to take deep unhappiness and mood swings after childbirth seriously, and get more support.
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What’s The Difference Between The ‘baby Blues’ And Postnatal Depression
The ‘baby blues’ is a brief period of low mood, feeling emotional and tearful around three to 10 days after you give birth. You are likely to be coping with lots of new demands and getting little sleep, so it is natural to feel emotional and overwhelmed. This feeling usually only lasts for a few days and is generally quite manageable. Postnatal depression is a much deeper and longer-term depression. This usually develops within six weeks of giving birth and it can be gradual or sudden. It can range from being mild to very severe.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Will I have to take antidepressants for life?
- If I take medicine, will I have trouble getting off the medicine when I feel better?
- How will I know if the medicine is making me feel better or if Im naturally getting better?
- Will I have postpartum depression with every pregnancy?
- Who should I call if I am having thoughts of suicide or of harming my baby?
What Is Depression In Pregnancy
Depression during pregnancy, or antepartum depression, is a mood disorder just like clinical depression. Mood disorders are biological illnesses that involve changes in brain chemistry.During pregnancy, hormone changes can affect the chemicals in your brain, which are directly related to depression and anxiety. These can be exacerbated by difficult life situations, which can result in depression during pregnancy.
Do I Have Postpartum Anxiety Or Postpartum Depression
Postpartum anxiety and postpartum depression share some symptoms, but they are different conditions. Excessive worrying, feeling panicky for no reason and having irrational fears or obsessions are all signs of postpartum anxiety. It’s important to discuss all your symptoms with your healthcare provider so they can get you the help you need.
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What Causes Depression
Were not exactly sure. It may be a combination of things, like changing chemicals in the brain or changing hormones. Hormones are chemicals made by the body. Some hormones can affect the parts of the brain that control emotions and mood.
Depression also may be caused by genes. Genes are parts of your bodys cells that store instructions for the way your body grows and works. Genes are passed from parents to children. Depression is more common in people whose family members have depression. This is called a family history of depression.
How Is Ppd Treated
If you think you may have PPD, see your health care provider right away. Your provider can be:
- Your prenatal care provider. This is the provider who gave you medical care during pregnancy.
- Your primary care provider. This is your main health care provider who gives you general medical care.
- A mental health provider. This may be a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, counselor or a therapist.
- Your babys health care provider
To find out if you have PPD, your provider asks you questions about how youre feeling. He wants to know if your feelings are causing problems in how you care for yourself and your baby. He may ask you to fill out a form called a depression screening questionnaire. Your answers on the form can help him find out if you have PPD.
Your provider may do tests to see if you have other health problems that may lead to PPD. For example, he may check your thyroid hormones. Low levels of thyroid hormones may lead to PPD.
The sooner you see your provider about PPD, the better. You can get started on treatment so you can take good care of yourself and your baby. Treatment can include:
- Counseling, like CBT and IPT
- Support groups. These are groups of people who meet together or go online to share their feelings and experiences about certain topics. Ask your provider or counselor to help you find a PPD support group.
- Medicine. PPD often is treated with medicine.
Medicines to treat PPD include:
If youre taking medicine for PPD:
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What Are The Symptoms Of Postpartum Depression
Some people feel ashamed about their symptoms or feel they are terrible parents for feeling the way they do. Postpartum depression is extremely common. You’re not the only person who feels this way, and it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person.
You may have postpartum depression if you experience some of the following:
- Feeling sad, worthless, hopeless or guilty.
- Worrying excessively or feeling on edge.
- Loss of interest in hobbies or things you once enjoyed.
- Changes in appetite or not eating.
- Loss of energy and motivation.
- Trouble sleeping or wanting to sleep all the time.
- Crying for no reason or excessively.
- Difficulty thinking or focusing.
- Thoughts of suicide or wishing you were dead.
- Lack of interest in your baby or feeling anxious around your baby.
- Thoughts of hurting your baby or feeling like you don’t want your baby.
Contact your healthcare provider if you think you have postpartum depression. This can be your obstetrician, primary care provider or mental health provider. Your baby’s pediatrician can also help you.
Can Medication Help Can It Harm The Child
Antidepressants are very important for some women. They can help relieve after childbirth. But doctors are generally quite hesitant to prescribe these medications for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Often, not enough is known about how these medications may affect the baby.
Women who take antidepressants while breastfeeding should talk with their doctor about what they ought to bear in mind. Small amounts of medication may be passed on to the baby in breast milk, and this could cause side effects in the baby. Although there have only been very few reports of breastfed children with problems that may have been caused by antidepressants, there have been some individual reports of children who were restless or drowsy after their mothers had taken certain kinds of antidepressants. These symptoms disappeared when they started drinking infant formula milk from a bottle.
There is a lack of good research on whether St John’s wort is effective in the treatment of postnatal . Products containing St Johns wort have been shown to help in some people with milder forms of depression. But there is not much research on their use during pregnancy or when breastfeeding, and little is known about the potential side effects. Interactions with other medicines are possible too.
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Who Is At Risk
Any new mother can experience symptoms of peripartum depression or other mood disorder. Women are at increased risk of depression during or after pregnancy if they have previously experienced depression or other mood disorders, if they are experiencing particularly stressful life events in addition to the pregnancy, or if they do not have the support of family and friends.
Research suggests that rapid changes in sex and stress hormones and thyroid hormone levels during pregnancy and after delivery have a strong effect on moods and may contribute to peripartum depression. Other factors include physical changes related to pregnancy, changes in relationships and at work, worries about parenting and lack of sleep.
Dads Get Postpartum Depression Too
New research is finding that postpartum depression may affect up to one-quarter of dads, yet it goes unnoticed. A recent study reviewed the latest research to better explain how it affects men.
The researchers found that some men are more likely to develop postpartum depression. The risk factors include:
- A history of depression or anxiety.
- Having a partner who has a mood disorder.
- Lack of social support.
- Age older men are more likely to be affected.
Men suffer from the same symptom of postpartum depression as women. However, it may not be as obvious as men are more likely to conceal their feelings. Additionally, postpartum depression in men may also start later, often after his partner already has it.
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How Can Family And Friends Help
It is important to understand that depression is a medical condition that impacts the mother, the child, and the family. Spouses, partners, family members, and friends may be the first to recognize symptoms of perinatal depression in a new mother. Treatment is central to recovery. Family members can encourage the mother to talk with a health care provider, offer emotional support, and assist with daily tasks such as caring for the baby or the home.
Support or advocacy groups can offer a good source of support and information. One example of this type of group is Postpartum Support International others can be found through online searches.
Can Ppd Be Prevented
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says that certain kinds of counseling can prevent perinatal depression for women at increased risk of depression. Counseling is when you talk about your feelings and concerns with a counselor or therapist. This person helps you understand your feelings, solve problems and cope with things in your everyday life.
The Task Force recommends counseling for women with one or more of these risk factors:
- Current signs and symptoms of depression
- A history of depression or other mental health condition
- Being pregnant as a teenager or being a single mom
- Having stressful life circumstances, like low income
- Being a victim of IPV
The Task Force recommends two kinds of counseling to prevent PPD for women at increased risk:
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Can Ppd Affect Your Baby
Yes. PPD can make it hard for you to care for yourself and your baby. This is why its important to treat PPD as soon as possible. If PPD is untreated:
- You may skip your postpartum checkups and not follow instructions from your health care provider.
- You may find it hard to bond with your baby.
- Your baby may not breastfeed long. PPD may make it hard for you and your baby to get used to breastfeeding. Breast milk is the best food for your baby through the first year of life.
- Your baby may not get medical care he needs. PPD may make it hard for you to take care of your baby if shes sick. You may not see health problems in your baby that need quick attention and care. It may be hard for you to get your baby regular well-baby care, like vaccinations. Vaccinations help protect your baby from harmful infections.
- Your baby may have learning, behavior and development problems and mental health conditions later in life.
Getting treatment for PPD can help you feel better and be able to care for your baby. If you think you have PPD, tell your provider.
How Do I Know If I Have Depression
When you are pregnant or after you have a baby, you may be depressed and not know it. Some normal changes during and after pregnancy can cause symptoms similar to those of depression. But if you have any of the following symptoms of depression for more than 2 weeks, call your doctor:
- Feeling restless or moody
- Feeling sad, hopeless, and overwhelmed
- Having no energy or motivation
- Eating too little or too much
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Having trouble focusing or making decisions
- Having memory problems
- Losing interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Having headaches, aches and pains, or stomach problems that don’t go away
Your doctor can figure out if your symptoms are caused by depression or something else.
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How Do Other Women And Families Cope With Depression
Postnatal can be a very lonely experience, particularly if you spend a lot of time at home alone with the baby. Many women are reluctant to tell even the people who are close to them how they are feeling. Although this may be the right approach for some women,
in many cases it stops them getting the extra support they may need to help them enjoy their life and their new baby again. Partners may also be having a difficult time and need support too.
A lot of women who have postnatal say it feels like their life is out of control. They are afraid that things will never get back to normal and wonder whether they will ever be able to enjoy anything again. Many women no longer feel like having sex, which can lead to relationship problems.
Other women report that they were gradually able to shake their by simply fighting to get by one day at a time. They slowly managed to regain control over their lives.
Postnatal doesnt last forever. It’s important to get enough support and practical help in everyday life. Although it can be hard to reach out to other people if youre depressed and ashamed of how youre feeling, most women find someone they know or a professional who doesnt judge them, and instead helps them to cope with the difficult situation.