What People Don't Tell You About Postpartum Depression

What People Don't Tell You About Postpartum Depression

Caring for an infant can be challenging for any new mother. Feelings of moodiness or sadness, known as the “baby blues,” are relatively common for many women during the immediate postpartum period. 

But up to 15% of women experience postpartum depression, a more extreme reaction to childbirth.

Postpartum depression is a complex medical condition that requires professional treatment. Only a medical expert can determine the source of your symptoms and provide the guidance and treatment you need to improve your life. 

Our OB/GYNs at The Association for Women’s Health Care have the professional experience and compassion necessary to evaluate and treat symptoms of postpartum depression. Our team has the expertise to ensure you have the information and resources you need to work toward a healthy, fulfilling experience as a new mother after pregnancy.

While well-meaning family and friends can provide support to help you manage daily activities, they’re not capable of providing the knowledge and care you need to manage this condition. Read on for important information about this serious condition. 

There’s not one specific cause

There seems to be a link between postpartum depression and the wide range of emotional and physical changes that occur after giving birth, but there’s not one specific cause for this condition. 

Your levels of progesterone and estrogen reach their highest during pregnancy. But these levels suddenly plunge back to normal within 24 hours post-childbirth. In some women, these hormonal changes may leave them vulnerable to the effects of postpartum depression.

Caring for a newborn can cause stress, sleep deprivation, and exhaustion for any new mother. These challenges may also be factors that lead to postpartum depression in women who are vulnerable to the condition. 

Some women are more vulnerable 

It’s impossible to predict who will experience postpartum depression. Women of any age, lifestyle, or socioeconomic group can suffer from the condition. 

While having prior bouts with depression can increase your risk of developing postpartum depression, many new mothers affected by it have no prior experience with any type of emotional issue. 

It’s impossible to know who will develop postpartum depression, but you may have a higher risk of developing the condition if you:

Every woman experiences postpartum depression differently

Since the postpartum period involves so many changes, it can be challenging to know whether your symptoms are signs of postpartum depression. 

While factors unique to your physical condition, emotional well-being, and lifestyle can affect your personal timeline, you should start feeling like yourself within about a week after giving birth. 

If you struggle with postpartum depression, you may recognize symptoms of the condition within two weeks after your baby is born, though it’s also possible to have initial symptoms as long as a year after giving birth. 

Contact us if you recognize any of these warning signs after two weeks postpartum:

Professional treatment is available 

Getting an appropriate diagnosis and treatment is necessary to improve symptoms and protect the well-being of yourself and your baby. 

We typically recommend psychotherapy and medications such as antidepressants to treat postpartum depression. You may notice optimal results with a combination of both treatments. We determine the treatment most appropriate for your condition after a thorough examination and consideration of your medical and family histories.

Don’t allow feelings of shame or guilt to interfere with getting the help you need. An accurate diagnosis is crucial to protecting yourself and your baby. Contact our Chicago or Northbrook, Illinois, office today to arrange a consultation.

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