What is Postpartum Depression?
The birth of a baby is an act of emotions for many women. And with these emotions, excitement, fear, and anxiety. But postpartum depression is an intense condition unusual to normal emotions of anxiety when the woman is pregnant.
Commonly new moms experience ‘baby blues” after the birth of the baby, which includes crying spells, mood swings, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping.
Baby blues may typically begin with a few days of the delivery and lasts for up to two weeks.
Rarely, an extreme mood disorder called postpartum psychosis may also affect women after childbirth.
Postpartum depression is not a physical flaw. Instead, it is a complication of giving birth.
The diagnosis of postpartum depression is not only related to the length of time between delivery and onset of signs but to the severity of signs.
More postpartum depression is attributed to the chemical, psychological, and social changes that appear after the birth of the baby. The cause is the chemical changes that plummet levels of hormones in the body. The researchers have not understood the link between the drop in hormone levels to depression.
But it is believed that levels of estrogen and progesterone may rise abnormally during pregnancy. Then, post-delivery, they start to drop. Within 3 days, the hormonal level reaches back to normal to what it was before pregnancy.
In addition to these chemical fluctuations, the difference in the social and psychological changes of delivering a baby may create an increased risk of depression.
Researchers have also stated that new fathers occasionally get depression during the year their child is born.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of depression vary depending on the intensity of depression.
Baby blues Signs
Signs and symptoms of baby blues may last from a few days to up to two weeks after the delivery. The generalised signs that may appear, include:
- Mood swings
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Reduced concentration
- Appetite problems
- Trouble sleeping
Postpartum depression is more intense and last longer and interfere with your caregiving for your baby. The signs usually worsen within the first few weeks after birth, but may also begin earlier or later, say up to a year after the birth.
The signs and symptoms of postpartum depression may include:
- Depressed mood
- Excessive crying over minor issues
- Difficulty bonding with your baby
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Poor appetite or eating more than usual
- Not sleeping or sleeping too much
- Anxiety that you do not make a good mother
- Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy
- Reduced interest and pleasure in daily activities
- Intense irritability and anger
- A feeling of despair
- Feeling not worthy, ashamed, or guilt
- Not being able to think rationally or concentrate or make decisions
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Self-destructive thoughts like death or suicide
Postpartum psychosis is a rare condition that primarily develops within the first weeks after the delivery.
Generalised signs and symptoms may include:
- Confusion and disorientation
- Obsessive thoughts about your baby
- Sleep disturbances
- Excessive energy and agitation
- Attempts to harm yourself or your baby
- Hallucinations and delusions
Postpartum psychosis is not something you should ignore. Get yourself an immediate treatment or else compulsive thought patterns may lead to life-threatening conditions.
Consult your doctor if the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression do not get improved within two weeks, are getting severe, making it hard for you to fulfil your responsibility towards your baby, and include destructive thoughts about your baby and you.
If you have postpartum depression, the reasons could be many. It is not that you did something wrong, but a series of emotional and physical changes you go through during pregnancy.
Some factors that can raise your chances of PPD may include:
- Hormones. A plummet in estrogen and progesterone levels after you have given birth may be a factor to consider for changes in mood. The thyroid gland is also responsible for the less secretion of hormones at the time of pregnancy that makes you feel tired and depressed.
- Lack of sleep. Not getting enough sleep and feeling overwhelmed can also trouble you.
- Anxiety. Anxiety also comes from your lack of knowledge about taking care of a newborn.
- Self-image. Some women may tend to feel less attractive and struggle with their loss of identity. Such thoughts may also contribute to postpartum depression.
Ayurvedic treatment for Postpartum Depression
Ayurveda classifies the conditions that affect women post-pregnancy under the aegis of Sutika roga. Sutika is a woman who has had a delivery lately or is in the period of Sutika (up to 6 weeks after delivery). The period makes a woman go through a bunch of emotional and physical challenges that affect her mental well-being.
During the post-pregnancy period, mothers are expected to follow a Satvik diet and lifestyle. The cause is also aggravation of Vata during the postnatal period, which is also worked upon during the treatment.
The entire duration for the ayurvedic treatment stays is around 14-21 days. Ayurvedic treatment usually includes oral administration of herbal medicines, external therapies and procedures for post-delivery care. Often in many cases, the ayurvedic treatment also includes proceeding with counselling, beauty treatments to get away with aesthetic issues, Pranayama, Yoga, etc.
At AyuKarma, we are committed to taking care of the mother in their postnatal recovery. Our Soothika Paricharya Program is a holistic approach to overcome the whelming emotions experienced by the mother.
Some of the benefits of Soothika Paricharya treatment involves:
- Helps relax muscles and nerves
- Helps get back to normal body shape
- Boosts digestion power
- Enhance emotional wellness
- Ensures restful feeding
For more information on how to overcome postpartum depression, you may consult our ayurvedic physicians at AyuKarma.