The birth of a baby can trigger powerful emotions, excitement, joy, or fear. It can also result in depression. The level of depression can be diagnosed from light and short, also called baby blues, to more severe and long-lasting, which are postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis.
Most new moms experience postpartum “baby blues” after childbirth. It typically begins within the first two to three days after delivery and may last for up to two weeks. Signs of baby blues may include:
- Mood swings
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Reduced concentration
- Appetite problems
- Trouble sleeping
How to cope with baby blues?
Here are some things that you can do right away when you are home with your new baby if you are experiencing the baby blues.
- Talk to your family, friends, or doctor about your feelings
- Seek for professional postnatal care providers or Yuu Fai therapist
- Start meeting others and do some activities such as a new parent support group or a baby and mother yoga class.
- Spend time with your partner will help you maintain a healthy relationship and emotional states for both of you.
- Take time to do something that you enjoy doing
Postpartum depression is a more severe, long-lasting form of depression and may interfere with your ability to care for your baby and handle other daily tasks. Symptoms often develop within the first few weeks after giving birth and may include:
- Depressed mood
- Severe mood swings
- Excessive crying
- Difficulty bonding with your baby
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Loss of appetite or eating much more than usual
- Inability to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much
- Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy
- Reduced pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
- Intense anger
- Fear that you’re not a good mother
- Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, shame, guilt or inadequacy
- Diminished ability to think clearly, concentrate or make decisions
- Severe anxiety and panic attacks
- Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
- Recurrent thoughts of suicide
New fathers may have the same symptoms you have. Fathers who are most at risk of postpartum depression are young, having or used to have relationships or financial problems.
Postpartum psychosis is an extreme mood disorder, a rare condition that typically develops within the first week after delivery.
The signs and symptoms may include:
- Confusion and disorientation
- Obsessive thoughts about your baby
- Hallucinations and delusions
- Sleep disturbances
- Excessive energy and agitation
- Attempts to harm yourself or your baby
When to get medical help?
If you experience any symptoms of postpartum baby blues or depression, call your doctor and speak to your family as soon as possible. Especially if the signs and symptoms have any of these features:
- They don’t fade after two weeks
- They are getting worse
- They make it hard for you to care for your baby
- They make it hard for you to complete everyday tasks
- You have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
- You have symptoms that suggest you may have postpartum psychosis
Mothers should not be afraid to not only ask for help but to accept help.
Dr. Wanwadee Sapmee Panyakat, MD. (3 February 2020)