Postpartum Depression: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Postpartum Depression: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Postpartum depression

Baby blues is a term used to describe the temporary feelings of sadness, anxiety, or exhaustion that some women have after giving birth. For many women, the baby blues subside in a matter of days. If these feelings don’t go away or if you feel depressed, anxious, or hopeless for longer than two weeks, you may have postpartum depression. It is neither normal nor expected for a mother to experience hopelessness following childbirth.

Postpartum depression is a serious mental health condition that impacts the brain, behaviour, and physical health. Depression is characterized by persistently depressing and dismal feelings that can interfere with daily functioning. It’s possible that you don’t feel attached to your child, that the child doesn’t belong to you, or that you don’t love or care for them. These emotions range from slight to intense. Anxiety problems can also strike mothers either during or after their pregnancies. Do you know what’s common in postpartum depression? Postpartum depression (PPD) is a prevalent issue. Within a year of giving birth, one in eight new mothers report having symptoms of postpartum depression.


Although the precise aetiology of PPD is unknown, a variety of factors are probably involved in a person’s development of the disorder. Hormone changes can set the symptoms of PPD. The female hormones progesterone and estrogen are at their peak levels when you are pregnant. Hormone levels swiftly return to their pre-pregnancy levels within the first twenty-four hours following delivery. Depression may result from this abrupt shift in hormone levels, according to researchers. This is comparable to the hormonal fluctuations that occur prior to menstruation, although it entails far more dramatic fluctuations.

Read: Depression: Causes, Types and Treatments

Thyroid hormone levels may also decrease following childbirth. A little gland in the neck called the thyroid aids in controlling how your body consumes and stores energy from food. A low thyroid hormone level may be the cause of depressive symptoms. If this illness is the cause of your symptoms, a straightforward blood test can determine that. In that case, your physician may recommend thyroid medication.


Some typical postpartum changes can result in symptoms resembling those of depression. The arrival of a new baby often leaves many mothers feeling overwhelmed. However, contact your physician, nurse, or midwife if any of the following depressive symptoms persist for longer than two weeks:

  • Being irate or irritable.
  • Sadness or hopelessness.
  • Feeling unworthy, guilty, or ashamed.
  • Eating in excess or insufficiently.
  • Getting more or less sleep than normal.
  • Unusual melancholy or crying.
  • Loss of enthusiasm, delight, or satisfaction in something you formerly enjoyed.
  • Removing oneself from friends and family.
  • Fear of injuring the child or yourself.

Some women choose not to disclose their symptoms to others. When it comes to feeling unhappy when they should be joyful, new mothers may experience feelings of embarrassment, humiliation, or guilt. They can also be concerned about being viewed as horrible moms. Any woman can experience postpartum depression or experience depression while pregnant. You are not a horrible mother as a result. One need not endure suffering. Help is available. Your physician can assist you in determining if depression or another condition is the source of your symptoms.

Read: Women and Mental Health

Are some women at risk of Postpartum Depression?

Yes. Postpartum depression may be more likely to strike if you:

  • Had depression either prior to or throughout pregnancy.
  • Possess a family background of depression.
  • Suffered maltreatment or hardship as a young person.
  • Had a challenging or traumatic delivery.
  • Had issues during a prior pregnancy or delivery.
  • Have minimal or nonexistent assistance from friends, family, or partners.
  • If you are currently or have ever been the victim of domestic abuse.
  • Have financial difficulties, relationship issues, or go through other trying times in life.
  • Are under 20 years old.
  • Find it difficult to breastfeed.
  • Having a prematurely born child or one who requires special medical attention.
  • Had gotten pregnant unexpectedly

Making a plan that works for you can be achieved by collaborating with a healthcare provider. The following methods of assistance can be utilized separately or in combination:

  • Therapy: Meetings with a mental health expert for counselling or therapy can assist you in understanding and managing your feelings and difficulties.
  • Support groups: By joining a support group, one can get comfort and understanding from other individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Self-care: It’s critical to look after oneself. Make every effort to get adequate sleep, consume nutrient-dense foods like whole grains and fresh produce, engage in physical activity, and seek assistance when necessary.
  • Social support: Seek guidance or assistance from trusted family members, friends, or other individuals. Medication: To assist in controlling symptoms, doctors may occasionally prescribe medication.
  • Antidepressants are the most widely used kind. Certain antidepressants can be taken while nursing, and they can help reduce the symptoms of depression. The onset of antidepressant effects may take many weeks.

Additionally, brexanolone, a medication, has been licensed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat postpartum depression in adult women. Six an IV is used by a physician or nurse to provide xanolone for two and a half days (60 hours). This medication can only be administered in a clinic or office while you are being cared for by a physician or nurse due to the possibility of side effects. It might not be safe to use brexanolone if you are nursing or pregnant. The first licensed oral medicine for treating PPD.


You can utilize these therapies separately or in combination. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of taking medication for depression while you are expecting or nursing with your healthcare provider. Depression can have an impact on your offspring. Seeking medical attention is crucial for both you and your child. Accepting assistance is a show of strength.

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