Postpartum depression, also called peripartum depression today, commonly occurs during pregnancy and after childbirth. Some women sense their symptoms relate to having a baby, whereas others struggle to understand their mood changes and other signs. Whether you believe your depressed feelings relate to having a child or from other causes, no one needs to experience these feelings alone. Schedule a visit with MedPsych Integrated in Raleigh, NC for an accurate diagnosis and integrative psychiatric treatment. After all, your mental wellbeing affects the wellness of your baby, too.
What is postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression is a mental health condition experienced during pregnancy and after childbirth. Today’s doctors call the condition peripartum, instead of postpartum. Having a baby is one of the most exciting times in your life. Of course, much anxiety also comes with new parenthood. But women with peripartum depression struggle with a range of negative effects, leading to mental distress. Sometimes mislabeled as the “baby blues,” these emotions are not reflective of your relationship with your child or ability to parent. Instead, they occur as a result of the many rapid changes experienced within your body and lifestyle.
Common symptoms of this peripartum mental health condition include anxiety, mood changes, sleep problems, fatigue, appetite changes, indifference and extreme sadness. Some women experience suicidal thoughts and other risks that threaten the well-being of both mother and baby.
Depressed feelings during pregnancy are not always peripartum depression. But this common condition can occur anytime during pregnancy or after the baby is born. One in seven women experience this disorder. Although symptoms appear similar to the baby blues, that lesser condition typically only lasts a short period and does not affect daily functioning. Nor does the baby blues necessitate medical intervention. The crying without reason, restlessness, worry, anxiety and irritability associated with this temporary condition only last a week or two. The baby blues goes away on its own.
About three-quarters of new mothers experience this self-resolving, short-term mental health disorder. Feeling depressive is debilitating, both mentally and physically. It lasts for months or longer if left untreated. Babies born to mothers with the disorder can suffer premature birth and low birth weight. Bonding issues, sleep problems and feeding problems can also affect mother and child together, too. Babies are at risk for emotional, developmental, social, verbal and cognitive impairments, as well.
Someone with peripartum depression experiences a mix of signs and effects. But these can change over time, as can their severity. Many mothers feel ashamed, guilty and isolated, as a result of their condition.
- Sluggishness and fatigue
- Feelings of sadness, hopelessness and helplessness
- Sleeping problems
- Appetite changes
- Concentration problems
- Unexplained crying
- Lack of interest in baby or life activities
- Guilty feelings
- Fear of harming the baby or self
Many women with the disorder feel anxious. But about two-thirds experience an actual anxiety disorder, at the same time.
Do I need to see an integrative psychiatrist?
It is important to see an integrative psychiatrist if you struggle with your effects for more than two weeks. You should also do so if you think about suicide or harming your baby. Never delay this care, as seeing an integrative psychiatrist can quickly lead to diagnosis, treatment and feeling better.
Really, you have reason to see an integrative psychiatrist for any mental health problems. This isparticularly true if you are a new parent and feel overwhelmed by your depressive effects during or after pregnancy.
Many people wonder if fathers can experience this disorder. While fathers do not share the depressive condition’s diagnosis, they can suffer their own anxiety, depression or other mental health condition. Dads frequently suffer fatigue, eating changes and sleeping changes, too. About four percent of new fathers need mental health treatment for these symptoms in the first year of their child’s life. Most at risk are those with history of mental problems or financial difficulties.
Does treatment work?
Many new mothers suffer silently and try to manage their mental health problems on their own.
Others believe the issues to be a normal part of having a child, so they do not seek treatment. But treatment is important when you suffer with any form of mental health effects. This is particularly true during pregnancy, because the health and development of your baby are connected to your wellness.
Psychotherapy works very well for new mothers struggling with their depressed feelings. The same is true for medication, lifestyle changes and other support occurring as part of integrative psychiatric care. Of course, before starting any medication, you should discuss your pregnancy with your psychiatrist. Risk of birth defects from these medications is low. But you need to make your decision after learning about the benefits and risks.
Seek the Help You Need for Postpartum or Peripartum Depression
If you suffer the symptoms of peripartum depression or any other mental health condition, schedule your visit with MedPsych Integrated in Raleigh, NC immediately. We use an integrative approach to diagnosing and treating your condition.
This treatment typically includes:
- Psychiatric evaluation
- Health history review
- Genetic testing
- Onsite blood draws
- Medication management
Call MedPsych Integrated at 919-582-7272 today for appointment scheduling.