Mind wellness believes that awareness is the key to prevention. And as the age old adage goes - "Prevention is better than cure".
So all new mommies and daddies out there, or parents in the making, here is a simple guide to know everything about Postpartum depression (PPD).
Q1. What is postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression (commonly abbreviated as PPD) is observed in women after childbirth.
POSTPARTUM period (meaning within 3 to 6 months following delivery) + DEPRESSION (characterised by persistent pervasive low/depressed mood along with excessive changes in appetite, sleep and at times suicidal tendencies).
Q2. Is it common?
10-15% of women are seen to suffer from PPD.
Q3. My friend is overwhelmed after her baby's birth. She seemed not herself, and stressed. Can this be PPD?
At this point it is necessary to point out, that many new mothers suffer from POST PARTUM BABY BLUES. This is considered a normal phenomenon usually occurring 3 to 5 days after delivery.
About 20-75% new mothers are noticed to have baby blues.
Q4. Is there any set of symptoms for PPD that I can look for in my wife who is a new mother.
As family members you can help screen for depression by noticing changes in the new mother. Common red flag signs to look out for are:
Depression Red Flags
New mothers are more commonly seen presenting a variety of symptoms along with prolonged sadness, lasting for more than two weeks e.g.:
- Difficulty bonding with the baby,
- Excessive crying, irritability
- Recurrent thoughts of suicide or death,
- Feelings of shame, guilt, worthlessness,
- Fear that they are not a good mother,
- Extreme changes in sleep and appetite,
- Panic attacks or anxiety
- Constant fatigue or lack or energy.
- Thoughts of death or suicide.
Q5. Is this a worrisome condition? Does it need treatment? If yes, then how?
The mother's psychological wellness is of utmost importance for the baby and entire family. Yes it requires treatment on an as soon as possible basis.
The ideal way would to approach your obstetrician who will liaison with a psychiatrist.
A psychiatrist diagnoses PPD by conducting interviews, observing the patient and seeking history from the close family about the recent and past behaviour of the patient.