You Can Treat Post-Natal Depression, Seriously!

March 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Pregnancy

One to four in every ten women who undergo childbirth get post-natal depression in one way or another. The wide variance in this number is simply because of the complexity of not knowing exactly what post-natal depression is. But then, women who’ve had post-natal depression all know exactly what it is, and how it makes them feel.

Many women who have gone through childbirth and brought their babies home get some sort of the ‘blues’, and show a characteristic moodiness that makes them uninterested in what’s going on around them. These blues may last for a few weeks or even months, depending on the severity of depression. In some cases, it lasts for a long time. In such scenarios, the long-term depression may be a signal of some other root problems. Once again, there is a complexity in the time variation of depression that makes it more difficult to understand the conditions of post-natal depression.

Some of the symbols of post-natal depression are common, others vary. Generally, new mothers will undergo bouts of spontaneous crying as well as portray a feeling of melancholy most of the time. They tend to feel tired and get some sort of insomnia. Other mothers are so sunk in themselves that they do not notice the beauty of the day, or the people around them.

Another common symptom of post-natal depression is the exaggerated worry that new mothers face in regard to their baby’s health. Also, loss of appetite and a smaller attention span are usual symptoms, as are varying mood swings- laughing hard one minute and crying the next. Some women also feel that they are worthless.

In a few serious cases, the women in question may consider killing themselves as well as their babies so that the baby is not left alone after the mother dies. These suicidal thoughts are serious, but more so if the mother actually tries to carry them out! This is the point where normal post-natal depression crosses over to postpartum psychosis, where terrible thoughts are acted upon. This condition needs to be resolved with professional help.

The causes of post-natal depression are not known with any degree of certainty, but are said to be the consequence of the rapid change in hormones immediately after birth. When production of estrogen and progesterone has been climbing steadily until delivery and falls rapidly to normal levels in the first 24 hours after birth, it tends to cause a low in the form of post-natal depression.

However, with the hormone levels reducing, the body also tends to get back its original equilibrium fairly quickly, so women who have post-natal depression need not worry about it affecting their ability to take care of their baby. This is bound to increase optimism in the new mothers!

Post-natal depression has been one of the key aspects of medical research, and ways to combat it have thus been discovered. Anti-depressants, albeit mild ones, usually do the trick to help new mothers recover from the worst stages of this condition. Also, joining in a support group and listening to other mothers who have been through it but are now fully recovered helps a lot! A psychiatrist can also do wonders to alleviate post-natal depression.

This condition affects a lot of women, so there is no shame in saying you have it too. In fact, the first step to getting better is acknowledging that you have it and seeking treatment. After all, post-natal depression is short-lived, prevalent among new mothers and, best of all, extremely treatable! So don’t let it get to you. You’ll get better, and soon!