The birth of a baby can trigger a jumble of powerful emotions, from excitement and joy to fear and anxiety. But it can also result in something you might not expect — depression.
Most new moms experience postpartum “baby blues” after childbirth, which commonly include mood swings, crying spells, anxiety and difficulty sleeping. Baby blues typically begin within the first two to three days after delivery and may last for up to two weeks.
But some new moms experience a more severe, long-lasting form of depression known as postpartum depression. Rarely, an extreme mood disorder called postpartum psychosis also may develop after childbirth.
Postpartum depression isn’t a character flaw or a weakness. Sometimes it’s simply a complication of giving birth. If you have postpartum depression, prompt treatment can help you manage your symptoms and help you bond with your baby.
We can help today. Call us. 310-571-5957 to talk to our staff and find out options.
Signs and symptoms of depression after childbirth vary, and they can range from mild to severe.
Baby blues symptoms
Signs and symptoms of baby blues — which last only a few days to a week or two after your baby is born — may include:
- Mood swings
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Reduced concentration
- Appetite problems
- Trouble sleeping
Postpartum depression symptoms
Postpartum depression may be mistaken for baby blues at first — but the signs and symptoms are more intense and last longer and may eventually interfere with your ability to care for your baby and handle other daily tasks. Symptoms usually develop within the first few weeks after giving birth but may begin earlier ― during pregnancy ― or later — up to a year after birth.
Postpartum depression signs and symptoms may include:
- Depressed mood or 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 interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
- Intense irritability and anger
- Fear that you’re not a good mother
- Feelings of 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 death or suicide
Untreated, postpartum depression may last for many months or longer.
With postpartum psychosis — a rare condition that typically develops within the first week after delivery — the signs and symptoms are severe. 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
Postpartum psychosis may lead to life-threatening thoughts or behaviors and requires immediate treatment.
Postpartum depression in new fathers
New fathers can experience postpartum depression, too. They may feel sad or fatigued, be overwhelmed, experience anxiety, or have changes in their usual eating and sleeping patterns ― the same symptoms mothers with postpartum depression experience.
Fathers who are young, have a history of depression, experience relationship problems or are struggling financially are most at risk of postpartum depression. Postpartum depression in fathers ― sometimes called paternal postpartum depression ― can have the same negative effect on partner relationships and child development as postpartum depression in mothers can.
If you’re a new father and are experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety during your partner’s pregnancy or in the first year after your child’s birth, talk to your health care professional. Similar treatments and supports provided to mothers with postpartum depression can be beneficial in treating postpartum depression in fathers.
When to see a doctor
If you’re feeling depressed after your baby’s birth, you may be reluctant or embarrassed to admit it. But if you experience any symptoms of postpartum baby blues or postpartum depression, call your doctor and schedule an appointment. If you have symptoms that suggest you may have postpartum psychosis, get help immediately.
It’s important to call your doctor as soon as possible if the signs and symptoms of depression have any of these features:
- Don’t fade after two weeks
- Are getting worse
- Make it hard for you to care for your baby
- Make it hard to complete everyday tasks
- Include thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
If you have suicidal thoughts
If at any point you have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, immediately seek help from your partner or loved ones in taking care of your baby and call 911 or your local emergency assistance number to get help.
Also consider these options if you’re having suicidal thoughts:
- Seek help from your primary care provider or other health care professional.
- Call a mental health professional.
- Call a suicide hotline. In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or use their webchat on suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat.
- Reach out to a close friend or loved one.
- Contact a minister, spiritual leader or someone else in your faith community.
Helping a friend or loved one
People with depression may not recognize or acknowledge that they’re depressed. They may not be aware of signs and symptoms of depression. If you suspect that a friend or loved one has postpartum depression or is developing postpartum psychosis, help them seek medical attention immediately. Don’t wait and hope for improvement.
Breastfeeding and Postpartum Depression: What You Need to Know
Breastfeeding and PPD are sometimes linked. For example, a mother who struggles to breastfeed her child may feel frustrated and lose confidence in her ability to breastfeed. She may also be more likely than other moms to experience PPD symptoms.
On the other hand, if breastfeeding goes smoothly and requires minimal effort, it can help strengthen the bond between a mother and her child. In this situation, a mom dealing with PPD may actually benefit from breastfeeding her child, because this maternal bond may help alleviate her PPD symptoms.
How to Treat PPD While Breastfeeding
For moms who are struggling with PPD and are searching for the right depression treatment while breastfeeding, consulting with a doctor is key. A doctor consultation allows a mom to understand her PPD treatment options and find a safe, effective way to manage her PPD symptoms.
For moms dealing with PPD, the decision to breastfeed can be difficult. Ultimately, there are two factors that these moms should consider: their breastfeeding goals and antidepressant medications.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that moms breastfeed exclusively for the first six months after childbirth, followed by continuation of breastfeeding for one year or longer. At the same time, baby formula offers a viable alternative to breastfeeding. If a mom believes breastfeeding contributes to PPD symptoms, using baby formula ensures her baby will get the vitamins and nutrients necessary for healthy growth and development, while allowing the mom to care for her mental health as well.
Comparatively, a doctor may prescribe an antidepressant medication to help a mom address her PPD symptoms. Many antidepressants are safe to use during breastfeeding. Conversely, it is paramount to check with a doctor to find out if there are any risks associated with an antidepressant that he or she prescribes to treat PPD.
Alternative therapies are sometimes recommended to help moms treat depression as well. These therapies include:
- Exercise: Running, walking, or other exercise helps boost the production of endorphins, the feel-good chemicals in the brain. Thus, developing and following an exercise regimen could help a mom feel good about herself and combat her depression symptoms.
- Dietary Changes:Foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids and folic acid have been shown to help relieve depression symptoms. Plus, avoiding high-fat and sugary foods may help a mom improve her mood.
- Sleep:It may seem virtually impossible at times to get a good night’s sleep, particularly for a mom focused on caring for her baby. By seeking out and accepting childcare from family members, friends, and other loved ones, a mom can take a break and get the sleep she needs to be happy and healthy.
In addition to the aforementioned therapies, Transcrenial Magnetic Stimulation is a popular depression treatment option for new moms. TMS therapy does not require anesthesia, electrical shocks, or medications — all of which make it a top alternative to common depression treatments.
How Does TMS Therapy Work?
A TMS therapy program is tailored to a patient. It usually involves five treatment sessions per week, with each session lasting about 20 minutes, over the course of four to six weeks.
During TMS therapy, a magnetic coil is safely placed on a patient’s head. Next, the coil generates magnetic pulses that stimulate neurons in specific brain regions that are responsible for mood. In doing so, TMS therapy helps release serotonin, norepinephrine, and other neurotransmitters to alleviate depression symptoms.
TMS therapy is safe and noninvasive, and a patient can immediately resume his or her normal activities after a TMS therapy session. Over the course of a six-week TMS therapy program, patients notice improvements in sleep and reduction in the severity of their depression symptoms. Over 70% of TMS patients experience a significant reduction in symptoms, with 49% of those patients achieving complete remission.
Schedule a TMS Therapy Consultation at CMT TMS
Many depression therapy options are available, and breastfeeding moms sometimes struggle to find the right depression treatment based on their individual needs. In certain instances, these moms ignore their depression symptoms. They may even develop PPD, which puts a breastfeeding mom and her baby in danger.
At Clear Mind Treatment, we want our patients to find a depression treatment that delivers long-lasting results. For breastfeeding moms struggling with depression symptoms, we encourage you to meet with a doctor to explore your depression treatment options. If you find traditional depression treatment options fail to deliver the desired results, we are happy to discuss TMS therapy with you, a revolutionary depression treatment.
TMS therapy is a drug-free depression treatment that provides results. To date, we have performed over 30,000 TMS treatments, resulting in a 49% remission rate and 70% response rate. We also continue to innovate and explore ways to help our patients achieve the best-possible TMS therapy results.
At Clear Mind Treatment our team is available to meet with you and determine if you are a good candidate for TMS therapy.
To schedule a free TMS therapy consultation with Clear Mind Treatment please call us at 310-737-8222