During your pregnancy, chances are pretty good you’re spending some time learning about childbirth, about parenting, and about all of the ways in which your life is now changing, and is about to change. This is normal and natural, and the more information you’re armed with the better prepared you’ll be for what’s coming. One of the areas that often gets missed during pregnancy, however, is a discussion of postpartum depression. Many women don’t give a thought to postpartum depression until they themselves start to experience it.
It’s important to distinguish, first of all, postpartum depression from the “baby blues.” The baby blues are something that most women will experience at least a little bit of. This is usually recognized by crying, anxiety, restlessness, and exhaustion. This is largely due to a combination of hormonal changes brought about by birth and life changes coming from the birth itself. These feelings are mild, and only occasional.
However, when these kinds of feelings are more severe, it may be indicative of postpartum depression. Postpartum depression involves persistent or severe sadness, anxiety, tension, and more. It may involve feelings of guilt, and it may involve feeling like you can’t go on. If it is left untreated, postpartum depression can worsen and can even lead to more sever conditions, such as postpartum psychosis.
There are several primary factors that may put you at risk for experiencing postpartum depression. While these factors aren’t requirements, they are very common among women who have postpartum depression. They are:
- A personal history of depression, panic, or anxiety
- Family history of postpartum depression or depression
- Relationship difficulties with a partner or close family member
- Previous experience of postpartum depression
- Health factors, including things like thyroid imbalance
It’s important, if you have some of these risk factors or not, to watch out for postpartum depression. There are a number of different ways that postpartum depression is treated. Things like therapy, medication, and more may be helpful for the woman who experiences postpartum depression. The key is to not just let it go, as it can quickly cause problems, not the least of which is robbing you of some of the joy of your new baby.