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Beating Baby Blues: Rising above Postpartum Depression

If you're experiencing postpartum depression, you're not alone. Learn about the condition and how you can beat it in this helpful guide Giving birth to a baby is supposed to be the most magical, life-changing experience. Only, it isn't for everyone. In the wake of childbirth, some women feel engulfed by a melancholy cloud that refuses to lift-one most likely caused by postpartum depression. Dealing with postpartum depression 15-20% of new mothers encounter postpartum depression. While most women experience symptoms within the first month of childbirth, for some, symptoms can persist for up to a year after delivery. In some cases, symptoms-including loss of appetite, feelings of sadness, anxiety and disrupted sleep-present themselves in the latter half of pregnancy. Causes of postpartum depression While the exact cause of postpartum depression remains uncertain, it is thought to be associated with triggers such as postnatal hormonal fluctuations, sleep deprivation, high-risk pregnancy, financial stress, relationship issues, and exhaustion in the wake of new parenthood. It is also worth noting that women with a personal or family history of depression are more susceptible. Recognising postpartum depression at its onset can mitigate unfavourable outcomes such as difficulty bonding with the baby, strained personal relationships and rarely, suicide. Symptoms of postpartum depression Postpartum depression can present an array of symptoms, varying from woman to woman. Common symptoms include insomnia, low moods, overwhelming guilt, changes in appetite, frequent tearful episodes, heavy anxiety, lack of bonding with the baby and suicidal fantasies. Diagnosing postpartum depression In order to diagnose postpartum depression, your doctor may have you answer some basic questions, and ask you to undergo blood tests to ascertain specific health parameters. In some cases, an underactive thyroid may be found to be the root cause, while various underlying causes may be identified in others. If you are diagnosed with a thyroid problem, you may be recommended a treatment plan to correct your thyroid imbalance. Treating postpartum depression It's normal for mothers to experience baby blues for up to two weeks after delivery. However, if you feel persistent dullness, low moods and difficulty developing an attachment to your baby, it's important to recognise that there's a problem and reach out for help. Postpartum depression may be treated with psychotherapy (counselling from a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health specialist), antidepressants, or a combination of both. When to seek help from a specialist If you resonate with any of the symptoms mentioned above, remind yourself that you're not alone. 1 in 5 new mothers in the world are fighting the same battle as you. There's a wealth of support available for mothers struggling with postpartum depression. At BirthRight by Rainbow Hospitals, our gynecologists, obstetricians and mental health professionals encircle new mothers in a holistic postpartum care and recovery plan. If you suspect you're battling postpartum depression, voice your concerns to your doctor to get the extended support and treatment you need. The treatment for postpartum depression can vary based on the nature and gravity of your condition. When embarking on a treatment plan, it's important to trust in the capability of your doctor and be open about your feelings. Being honest and transparent can unlock the mental shackles in your mind-and pave the way to recovery. 

Dr. Annie Pranutha P

Consultant Obstetrics and Gynecology

Rainbow Children's Hospital, Banjara Hills