Postpartum depression – what it is, how it occurs and how to treat it

After having a baby, life changes completely! It is a moment full of insecurities and changes, not only physical, but social and psychological as well. The postpartum is a stage where the woman will learn to deal with situations never before experienced, and how any change in our lives, we need to adapt to account for everything.

As motherhood is not only made up of wonders, many women need help to get through this phase. Besides the body is recovering from childbirth, she needs to adapt to different situations and, also, to the baby that has just arrived.

They are difficult components to deal with and many women suffer during the puerperium. In addition, some conditions, such as postpartum depression, make this process even more challenging.

But do you know what postpartum depression is? Well, this is a type of depression that occurs associated with the birth of the baby. It is a mental illness that also affects men and has been considered by many to be a public health problem , as its prevalence is high and its diagnosis is difficult to make.

According to the World Health Organization, the prevalence of postpartum depression in developing countries, such as Brazil, is up to 19.8% ; however, some other studies carried out here in our country reveal that this number may be even higher.

What are the causes?

There is still no consensus on the causes of postpartum depression. Some studies point to hormonal and physiological factors as the main inducers, but other factors such as social and psychological factors must also be taken into account.

As during pregnancy the production of progesterone is high and the woman’s body ends up adapting with the high concentration of this hormone in the body. With childbirth, there is a considerable loss of progesterone in the woman’s body, causing a hormonal imbalance. Some scholars point out that this sudden loss of progesterone in the body would be one of the causes that predisposes some women to the occurrence of depression.

As for psychological factors, the fact that it was an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy can be an aggravating factor for the occurrence of postpartum depression. Therefore, not only the physiological but also the emotional side of the woman must be taken into account when making the diagnosis of this condition.

What are the symptoms?

Women with postpartum depression have symptoms such as depressed mood, weight change, low energy, feelings of excessive guilt, sexual disinterest, lack of appetite, low concentration and even suicidal ideation. These symptoms begin even in the first 4 weeks after delivery and last for at least 2 weeks and can last for months if they are not treated.

ATTENTION! It is important not to confuse postpartum depression with postpartum sadness or baby blues . What differentiates one from the other, in addition to the duration, is the intensity of the symptoms.

How to prevent?

Unfortunately, there is no way to 100% prevent an episode of postpartum depression. In addition to all the physiological and hormonal issues, there are also the psychological and emotional issues involved, and these variables are difficult to control. Even women who have never had depression or even those who have always wanted to become pregnant can experience postpartum depression.

However, psychological monitoring during pregnancy can decrease the chances of experiencing episodes of postpartum depression. If the woman has already had depression at some point in her life, the warning light is on, as the chances of her having episodes of postpartum depression are higher and monitoring should start even during pregnancy.

How to deal with?

Postpartum depression is a mental illness that considerably affects the life of the woman who suffers from this condition and, therefore, requires medical attention to provide the best treatment conditions.

Generally, women who experience postpartum depression do not receive adequate treatment for this condition. Worldwide, about 50 to 90% of cases are undiagnosed. Thus, as it is a condition that is difficult to diagnose, many women end up suffering from postpartum depression and do not receive the necessary treatment. However, it is worth emphasizing that this condition is serious and needs treatment, with psychotherapy being the most appropriate way.

In addition to psychotherapy, the use of medications may be necessary , and it is worth mentioning that any and all needs must be evaluated with the doctor who will check the case and recommend the ideal treatment, since the risks and benefits of maintain breastfeeding.

If left untreated, depression can become chronic and increasingly severe, affecting even the woman’s ability to care for her baby. Therefore, if you experience symptoms exaggeratedly, seek medical help as soon as possible so that you can check what is happening.

Dr. Alexis Hart
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My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.

Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.

Dr. Alexis Hart

My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.

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