Need to know about Postpartum Disorders

Finally getting to meet the little munchkin you've carried for 9 months should be the most exciting time for new a new mum. At least that's how it may seem. But according to research at the John Hopkins women's mood disorder center, 1 in 5 new mums suffer from postpartum depression and about 85% of new mums may experience what is known as baby blues, which is usually caused by the hormonal shift that occurs in women during pregnancy.

There are three types of postpartum disorders, namely:

  1. Baby blues

  2. Postpartum depression

  3. Postpartum psychosis

Baby blues depression Most women will go through baby blues after childbirth. Baby blues or postpartum blues is a brief mood disorder that can be caused by the sudden change in hormonal levels after childbirth. When a woman becomes pregnant, her estrogen and progesterone levels goes through the roof. A woman may produce more estrogen hormones in a single pregnancy than her entire lifetime when not pregnant. The rapid drop of her hormonal levels back to normal, usually between 2-3 days after childbirth may lead to baby blues. Baby blues usually occurs within the first 2 weeks after childbirth. If it persists longer, it could be considered postpartum depression, especially when her ability to function is affected. This increases the need to seek medical help.

Symptoms of baby blues

  • Finding it hard to sleep

  • Irritability

  • Mood swings

  • Anxiety

  • Feeling overwhelmed

  • Sadness

  • Crying spells

  • Anxiety

  • Sadness 

  • Crying spells 

Postpartum depression  About 10-20 percent of new mums suffer from postpartum depression. Rapid hormonal disruptions, emotional and social changes factors that may lead to depression after childbirth.

Symptoms of Postpartum Depression Symptoms may include excessive versions of those experienced when going through baby blues, and may also include;

  • Feeling of inadequacy in carrying out the duties of a mother

  • Feelings of shame

  • Struggling to bond with your baby

  • Low libido 

  • Withdrawing from family and friends

  • Eating too much or too little

  • Hopelessness

  • Inability to focus  

Postpartum psychosis

Postpartum psychosis is a rare but devastating mental disorder that occurs in about 1 in 1000 women after birth. The numbers may rise especially in women who'd suffered from depression or have been diagnosed for bipolar disorder before childbirth. Postpartum psychosis can occur within the first 3 months after giving birth and can have severe effects of the new mother. 

Symptoms of Postpartum psychosis

  • Disconcert or confused

  • Insomnia

  • Obsessive thoughts about your baby

  • Easily agitated

  • Delusional 

  • Suicidal 

  • Extremely disorganized behavior

New mums are susceptible to a real threat of a continuous sequence from just the baby blues through to postpartum psychosis especially if the sequence is not nicked in the bud before it becomes extreme. Infant outcomes like infant attachment and cognitive development may be compromised. With the availability of medical treatment comes the silver lining. Endeavor to see a doctor or psychiatrist when you feel yourself drifting into depression.


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