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The Postpartum Depression Blues

After the birth of your baby

By Dr. Matt Marko MD PhD

It is quite common for women to feel emotional and/or emotionless after childbirth; this is apparently because of hormonal changes that happen within the female after childbirth and to the anticlimax, the culmination of all those emotions, after the long-awaited event. It is common for a woman to encounter many confusing and strange thoughts, emotions and feelings that may go up and down and in some cases would even seem side ways. There are two separate important problems that occur with this event:

1. Postpartum blues

2. Postpartum or as is sometimes called, postnatal depression

Postpartum blues

'The blues' are a very common problem that arises in the first 2 weeks (usually from day 3 to day 5) after childbirth.

What are the symptoms?

  • Feeling flat or depressed
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Feeling emotional (e.g. crying easily)
  • Tiredness
  • Insomnia
  • Lacking confidence (e.g. in bathing and feeding the baby)
  • Aches and pains (e.g. headache)

What is the outcome?


Fortunately 'the blues' are usually a passing phase and tend to last only a few days. It is important to get plenty of help and rest until they go away and you feel normal, or at least better.


What should you do?


All you really need is encouragement and support from your partner, family and friends, so tell them how you feel.

  • Avoid getting overtired: rest as much as possible.
  • Talk over your problems with a good listener (perhaps another mother with a baby).
  • Accept help from others in the house.
  • Allow your partner or another person to take turns getting up to attend to the baby.

If the blues last longer than 4 days, it is very important to contact your doctor.


Postpartum Depression


Some women develop a very severe depression within the first 6 months (usually in the first 6 months) after childbirth. They seem to get 'the blues' and cannot snap out of it.


What are the symptoms?


Some or all of the following, (but not limited to) may occur:

  • A feeling that you cannot cope with life (e.g. hopelessness, helplessness)
  • Continual tiredness
  • Feeling like a failure as a mother
  • Sleeping problems
  • Eating problems (e.g. poor appetite or overeating)
  • Loss of interest (e.g. in sex)
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Tension and anxiety
  • Feeling irritable, angry or fearful
  • Getting angry with the baby
  • Feeling rejected
  • Marital problems (e.g. feeling rejected or paranoid)
  • Strange and unusual thoughts and beliefs, sometimes very unrealistic.

What is the outcome?


This is a very serious problem if not treated, and you cannot shake it off by yourself. There is a real risk of a marriage breakdown or even worse because you can be a very miserable person to live with, especially if your husband does not understand what is going on. If it is severe, there is a risk of suicide and even of killing the baby.


What should you do?


You must be open and tell everyone how you feel. You need help. It is most important to consult your doctor, if he is aware of psychology, and explain exactly how you feel. Your problem can be treated and cured with antidepressant medicine and counseling.


Also understand that antidepressant medicine takes time to work so you must seek help as soon as you think there may be a problem. It may also be that you don’t see or know that such a problem is present, so you should listen to others around you to help you to know this.


This is a normal occurrence and you should know that it is very treatable and that it will pass. Things will get back to normal once again and your happy life will go on as before with your new bundle of joy.

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