Nearly every new mom goes through emotional highs and lows in the days after having their baby. They may feel anxious, depressed, or generally upset. Many women suddenly cry for no apparent reason and find that they have trouble sleeping and eating.
This roller coaster of feelings, commonly called the baby blues, is unsettling but entirely expected. It’s a natural response after the physical and emotional stress of pregnancy and childbirth, not to mention the sudden hormone fluctuations.
Baby blues go away on their own within a few days or weeks after your delivery. Postpartum depression is an entirely different challenge.
Postpartum depression is more intense, lasts longer, and seldom improves without help. MindSet offers psychiatric care together with one of today’s most innovative and effective treatments for postpartum depression, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).
Here’s what you should know about postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression aka perinatal depression
Though most people still call this condition postpartum depression, the medical world has changed its name to perinatal depression. The name change is only important because it’s confusing if you search online for information. Some websites still use postpartum depression, while others have switched to perinatal depression.
Postpartum depression affects many women
Postpartum depression affects about 14% of all women. Your depression can begin during your pregnancy or it may not start until after your baby is born.
After delivery, your symptoms could appear within a few days or not for many months. The delay between your baby’s birth and the start of your depression can make it hard to recognize that you have postpartum depression.
Signs of postpartum depression
One of the most important things to know about postpartum depression is this: It is the same as having major depression. In fact, postpartum depression is medically defined as a major depressive episode that occurs during and/or after pregnancy.
Each woman experiences postpartum depression differently, so you may not have all of the following five symptoms.
When you have postpartum depression, you:
Struggle to bond with your baby
Once postpartum depression takes hold, you may not have the energy, emotional reserves, or desire to bond with your baby. Though you want to connect, you have a hard time forming an emotional attachment with your baby.
Unlike baby blues that go up and down at a moment’s notice, postpartum depression causes an ongoing or nearly constant low mood. You will feel down most of the day, nearly every day.
You may feel sad, hopeless, worthless, empty, and overwhelmed. It’s also common to become irritable, frustrated, and downright angry at your baby, partner, friends, and family.
Have no energy
Depression is a state of low energy. You may not feel like you can get out of bed or hold your baby, forget about any activity that demands more energy. Low energy is naturally associated with feeling tired and lacking motivation to care for your baby or family.
Can’t feel happy
Postpartum depression drains your happiness. Clinical depression typically stops you from participating in the daily activities you usually enjoy.
When you have a new baby, the loss of happiness takes on a deeper meaning. Postpartum depression steals your ability to enjoy your new baby.
Struggle to think or concentrate
Postpartum depression can make your brain feel foggy. You may not be able to focus or find that you can’t make decisions. Having trouble thinking adds to the challenge of trying to make it through the day and caring for your baby when you struggle with postpartum depression.
Other signs of postpartum depression
Postpartum depression often affects your eating habits, leading to unintentional weight gain or loss. You may have trouble sleeping or find that you sleep too much. Women also think about suicide if their depression gets too severe.
TMS and postpartum depression
Like major depression, postpartum depression is associated with abnormal nerve activity in certain areas of your brain. TMS is a safe, noninvasive treatment that uses magnetic pulses to stimulate the nerves and restore normal electrical activity.
As your brainwaves become balanced, your depression improves. TMS is proven to effectively treat major depression, as well as postpartum depression.
If you need compassionate care for postpartum depression, call MindSet or schedule an appointment online.