May is Postpartum Depression Awareness Month
This year, the state of Michigan officially made May Postpartum Depression Awareness Month. We are encouraging moms (and their loved ones) to speak up when you’re down and to seek help immediately if you suspect you are suffering from postpartum depression (PPD).
Postpartum depression is intense feelings of sadness, anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, guilty, irritable, angry, or a sense of despair after childbirth. Others may observe your mood changes and difficulty sleeping or showing signs of being withdrawn or disconnected from your baby. It will interfere with your ability to function in your daily tasks and these feelings do not go away after several weeks. Symptoms typically begin 1-3 weeks after delivery but can occur up to 1 year after having a baby.
If you are suffering, you are not alone. As many as 1 in 5 women are affected by postpartum depression. It does not make you weak. It does not make you a bad parent. It just means you need some help getting back to yourself.
Speak up so that we can help you get the care that you need so that you can return to taking good care of yourself and your family. You will be screened for PPD during your stay in the hospital after giving birth and also on all your follow-up visits, but if you suspect that you (or your loved one) are developing symptoms, please do not wait for your scheduled visit, but instead contact your provider immediately….(#248-997-5805)
You are not alone. We are here for you. There is help available in counseling, antidepressants, and other means. Beaumont also offers a Postpartum Adjustment Program as part of their Parenting Program that may be a great resource to you and your family (#248-898-3234).
A.C.O.G (American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) has a wonderful, comprehensive guide to postpartum depression, from which this information is drawn:
What causes postpartum depression? It is probably caused by a combination of factors including:
- Changes in hormone levels—Levels of estrogen and progesterone decrease sharply in the hours after childbirth. These changes may trigger depression in the same way that smaller changes in hormone levels trigger mood swings and tension before menstrual periods.
- History of depression—Women who have had depression at any time—before, during, or after pregnancy—or who currently are being treated for depression have an increased risk of developing postpartum depression.
- Emotional factors—Feelings of doubt about pregnancy are common. If the pregnancy is not planned or is not wanted, this can affect the way a woman feels about her pregnancy and her unborn baby. Even when a pregnancy is planned, it can take a long time to adjust to the idea of having a new baby. Parents of babies who are sick or who need to stay in the hospital may feel sad, angry, or guilty. These emotions can affect a woman’s self-esteem and how she deals with stress.
- Fatigue—Many women feel very tired after giving birth. It can take weeks for a woman to regain her normal strength and energy. For women who have had their babies by cesarean section, it may take even longer.
- Lifestyle factors—Lack of support from others and stressful life events, such as a recent death of a loved one, a family illness, or moving to a new city, can greatly increase the risk of postpartum depression.
You may have heard about the “baby blues”: It is not uncommon to feel a myriad of emotions after delivery. You might find yourself crying while brushing your teeth or watching a TV commercial and not really understand why. The emotional impact of delivery and providing care to a new baby, including, possibly, the huge stress of learning to breast feed, in combination with the major change in hormones after delivery can leave you feeling overwhelmed Postpartum blues are intermittently feeling depressed, anxious or upset, and they usually starts 2-3 days after delivery and typically resolve within 1-2 weeks without any treatment. Monitor yourself closely and also have your loved ones watch you to see how you are doing. If you become concerned that these negative feelings are sticking around, your mood is not improving, or your symptoms are worsening, contact your provider.
Every pregnancy and every delivery is different. Please contact your provider with questions specific to your care and your pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum period. If you have a history of depression, related to or separate from pregnancy, please let us know so we can provide you the best care for you.