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  • Updated: March 31, 2022

Postpartum Depression: How To Get Through It

Feelings of tiredness, anxiousness, excitement, exhaustion, and mood swings among many others are common accompaniments of pregnancy that make the experience bitter-sweet.

Ordinarily, after pregnancy, the body and mind go through several changes.

However, two weeks after the birth of the child, the mother is expected to return to her usual self mentally and socially.

When this is not the case and some odd behaviors such as emptiness, sadness, withdrawal from child are still seen in the mother, she is most likely experiencing Postpartum Depression.

Postpartum means 'following childbirth'; Postpartum Depression (PPD) is therefore the depression experienced after childbirth.

It is a mental condition common to women who have just given birth to children.

A woman going through PPD usually has a low mood, feels useless, lonely and restless, and seems not to love her child/children.

The Office on Women’s Health have reported that one in nine women is experiencing postpartum depression.

In Nigeria, over 1.5 million women experience this depression. Sadly, a good number of women going through PPD are unaware of what the problem is exactly. 

This depression is different from Baby Blues, the normal feeling of sadness,anger and mood swings experienced by mothers a few days after childbirth.

Symptoms

PPD affects women differently but tampers with their quality of life. Below are some symptoms common to PPD patients:

  • Patients experience countless mood swing

  • Withdrawal from their baby which affects how they care for them

  • Constant feeling of sadness, uselessness and worthlessness

  • Inability to focus and make decisions

  • Patients are mostly angry, anxious and irritable

  • Unstable appetite

  • Withdrawal from family and friends

  • Tiredness and pains such as headache and stomach ache

  • Unnecessary shedding of tears at different points

  • Lack of sufficient sleep or excessive sleep

  • In serious cases, patients have suicidal thoughts or thoughts of hurting others.

Causes

While the real cause of postpartum depression is yet to be discovered, hormonal, genetic and environmental factors may play a part in bringing about the form of depression in a woman.

PPD may be caused by the following:

  • Fluctuation of the hormones

  • Previous case(s) of PPD may be the cause in a patient

  • Going through the stress of pregnancy and delivery at a young age may trigger PPD

  • Being overwhelmed by the thought of taking care of a child

  • Lack of support from family and friends

  • Having a child with special needs

  • Complications during childbirth

  • Feeling of unattractiveness

  • Underlying problems such as severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and diagnosis of other form(s) of depression in the family may also cause PPD.

Risk Factors

The following group of people are at high risk of experiencing PPD:

  • The younger the mother is, the higher her risk of experiencing PPD

  • Women who already have kids are more likely to be discouraged from getting pregnant again because of the stress of taking care of a child

  • Lonely and dejected people

  • Women experiencing marital conflict

  • Women without support

  • Severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) patients

 

Self-Help Tips

While it is advisable to visit a doctor or counsellor when experiencing PPD, patients can also find ways to feel better by improving their lifestyle.

The following are some self-help care tips for PPD patients:

  • Take good care of yourself by making timeout to relax, exercise, and get enough sleep
  • Spend time with people who make you feel happy and better

  • Eat good meals and maintain a balanced diet

  • Go out and enjoy fresh air for the good of your body and brain.

  • Share how you feel with one or more persons who can make you feel better

  • Socialise with mothers going through the same who will understand you.

  • Seek the support of your partner and friends to quicken your recovery

 

 

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Deborah  Oyewole
Deborah Oyewole

A graduate of English with a passion for writing and editing. Ardent researcher and meticulous learn...

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