For most women, maybe including you, having a baby is very exciting, joyous, and anxious at the same time. If you’re a new mother, it’s a natural feeling, being stressed with the changes in routine, sleep patterns, and most of all, a new responsibility placed on your lap – your beautiful little bundle. However, if your feelings get worse and prolonged, this could be postpartum depression which can become way too distressing and difficult to cope with alone. What is postpartum depression? It is a serious medical illness involving feelings of extreme sadness, indifference, and/or anxiety, as well as changes in energy, sleep, and appetite. Many times, it carries risks for the mother and child. The good news is, postpartum depression treatment isn’t always chemical in nature. This article is for information only and we suggest you see your doctor and share with a friend, husband or family member immediately if you believe you are suffering from postpartum depression.
When Does Postpartum Depression Start?
When does postpartum depression start? It has been discovered that depression may not start only after the baby has arrived. It may even have started during pregnancy. However, after pregnancy is the most common occurrence of depression, Postpartum depression usually occurs a few days after childbirth. It has more severe or prolonged symptoms of clinical depression that last more than two weeks. It interferes with your ability to function with normal routines on a daily basis and that includes self-care and caring for your baby.
Postpartum Depression Diagnosis
How do I know I am going through postpartum depression? Postpartum depression diagnosis can be done by several methods like the commonly used instrument Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), a questionnaire that assesses a person’s mood over the past week. Another one is the Postpartum Depression Screening Scale (PDSS). Please take note, however, that these instruments need to be accompanied by a complete interview by the clinician for a reliable diagnosis to be pronounced.
Studies show that cultural factors play an important role in the occurrence of Postpartum Depression symptoms. Marital conflict and low partner support during pregnancy are major factors leading to PPD. Previous and current anxiety, too, are key risk factors of PPD, making it easier to diagnose. Sensitivity to the withdrawal and addition of estrogen and progesterone is also something to look out for when diagnosing PPD. Women with differential sensitivity to such fluctuations are more conclusive to experience postpartum depression. Furthermore, the fluctuations in the level of gonadal hormones and neuroactive steroids after childbirth can affect neural activities in women with PPD.
Sleep is very important in regulating neural and bodily balance. However, if your progesterone level is declining, it causes insomnia. Lack of sleep can adversely affect your moods and emotions. An infant with undisturbed sleep till feeding time can allow you to sleep too, but if it does not happen, you can’t get the rest you so badly need.
Manifestations can be observed by your spouse, family member, or friend. Perhaps you yourself notice the symptoms. You may need to seek medical attention to help you answer your questions and find solutions to them. Postpartum depression symptoms may include: sadness with constant weeping, feeling exhausted but unable to sleep; appetite for food is either too little or too much; aches and illnesses; anxiety or anger for no reason; mood swings; the inability to focus and make simple decisions; no bond with the baby; no interest for things or activities enjoyed before; withdrawal from family or friends; potentially disturbing thoughts of harming yourself or the baby.
What Is the Treatment for Postpartum Depression?
There are evidence-based postpartum depression treatment options claimed by psychiatry and medical advocates. Since PPD is clinical depression, patients have usually resorted to synthetic prescription pills like antidepressants and psychotherapy. More recent evidence reveals that postpartum depression is quite similar to other psychiatric disorders experienced at other times outside pregnancy. Interventions like pharmacological, supportive interpersonal, and cognitive therapy plus the reliable social and prayer/church support groups. Support group attendance can provide a sense of hope and spiritual strength to get you through this seemingly endless dark tunnel. It offers the acceptance and realization that they are not alone in this battle against depression. Encouragement and coping strategies are tangible ways these support groups show they care along with the opportunity for the mother to express her needs and emotions like fear and anxiety in a nonjudgmental setting. In cases, however, of severe PPD or where a mother is at risk of suicide or infanticide, the Electroconulsant therapy has proven its effectivity. Consulting professional help like a psychotherapist would also be wise.
What Are the Postpartum Depression Treatment Options to Consider?
As a nursing mom, if using antidepressants bothers you while breastfeeding seeks out a naturopath or BHRT doctor for postpartum depression treatment without drugs. BHRT doctors recommend bio-identical hormones and monitor progress carefully. Compounding pharmacies are often contracted to create bioidentical hormones to suit your personal body profile. This often comes in the form of transdermal or oral products along with therapy and serves as possibly a gentler option (for baby) for PPD treatment while you’re breastfeeding.
Postpartum Depression Natural Treatment
The conclusion from pioneering research of bio-identical hormones like progesterone is that for some, it can be a natural approach to hormonal balance in an especially sensitive time. The drop in progesterone as well as high levels of adrenaline are frequent causes of depression. Adrenaline is an anger hormone and when anger is internalized too much, it leads to depression. Progesterone has some anti-anxiety and sedating properties. Medical advocates of the use of progesterone, in cream or oral form, suggest its use since it can block adrenaline, thus often producing good results as a natural postpartum depression treatment.
Hormonal imbalance, perhaps, is one of the most common issues among females in the middle years. To counter the side effects of imbalanced hormones, progesterone cream supplementation is a common answer. In manipulation experiments with estradiol and progesterone on the onset of PPD, these ovarian hormones can potently modulate hormone-related mood disorders, therefore, estradiol and progesterone can also be considered as a natural therapy to steer clear of the stigma connected to most conventional treatments.
- Estradiol is tricky and should only be used for as short a time as needed and only under the care of your trusted healthcare professional.
- Though natural progesterone is one of the most popular natural choices by naturopathic doctors, it can lower the hormone prolactin which is responsible for producing breast milk. So, if using a natural progesterone cream consider drinking a tea called Mother’s Milk by Traditional Medicinals; to keep your milk supply full.
Can CBD Help in Treating Postpartum Depression?
Studies show that CBD or cannabidiol improves maintaining homeostasis and regulating emotions in humans. CBD products showed potential promising results in anxiety and stress management in PPD, possibly by helping you get a sounder sleep.
Though one cannot prevent postpartum depression without knowing it is on the horizon, rest assured, there is hope for relief and improvement in reducing postpartum depression. During pregnancy, keep a healthy lifestyle, physically and emotionally by eating well, getting enough sleep, reducing stress, and reaching out to family and friends regularly. Prepare your heart and mind for the arrival of your precious little one. Consider listening to cheerful music, reading wholesome material, cultivating hobbies and interests, and praying. And take action to counter postpartum depression with a natural remedy.