What is the best way to handle postpartum depression?

Mother with Postpartum Depression Photo - LocateADocPostpartum depression also referred to as PPD or postnatal depression is classified as a form of clinical depression which can affect men and women following childbirth. Studies show that incidence among mothers is between 5%-25% and 1%-10% among fathers up to the child’s first birthday. However, as much as 25% of fathers experience postpartum depression between three and six months after the birth of their child. The rationale behind the methodological differences is unclear.
Symptoms of postpartum depression include:
  • anxiety
  • sadness
  • fatigue
  • sleeplessness
  • loss of appetite
  • reduce libido
  • crying episodes
  • irritability
  • low self-esteem
  • low energy
  • mood swings; easily frustrated
  • exhaustion
The etiology of postpartum depression remains unclear although a number of risk factors have been identified. Some of these include:
  • Lack of vitamins
  • Hormonal changes during pregnancy
  • Profound lifestyle changes after childbirth
  • Oxytocin depletion
  • Poor marital relationship
  • Low social support
  • Low socioeconomic status
  • A history of depression
  • Unplanned/unwanted pregnancy
  • Cigarette smoking

Postpartum Depression Management:

Recovering from postpartum depression is not easy, but not impossible. With the right amount of cooperation, this condition can be treated and you can go on with your normal daily routine. Here are some ways to handle this condition:
  1. Never miss your medications.
    Once diagnosed with postpartum depression, you will possibly receive a doctor’s prescription. Medications should be taken as instructed in order to obtain optimum results. Share your full medical history with the doctor so he or she can prescribe the right medications for you. Inform him or her if you are taking certain vitamins or herbal medicines.
  2. Eat healthy.
    Eating healthy will keep you from feeling weak. Certain fruits and vegetables can also improve serotonin levels. Serotonin is a chemical that is said to influence social behavior, temperament regulation, sleep, appetite and learning. Some of the foods that lift serotonin levels are bananas, eggs, dark chocolate and buckwheat. Omega-3 can also contribute to temperament regulation, and you can get this from salmon and nuts. It is also suggested to stay away from processed foods and those that are high in complex sugar.
  3. Exercise!
    Physical activities stimulate the production of “feel good” chemicals in the body. You will feel more relaxed after exercising. Try yoga or any dance video at home. Studies show that yoga is helpful in managing depression. Dance videos use lively music that should make you feel light and peppy.
  4. Get sufficient rest
    Restlessness can make you irritable. Strive to sleep early at night and take a 30 minute break between household chores. Insufficient rest can reduce your productivity, increase blood pressure and alter blood sugar levels. When these are combined, your mood will be affected in a negative manner.
  5. Surround yourself with positive people.
    Being surrounded with positive people can lift your spirit. Do not sulk in the corner - there’s fun in the right gathering. If the depression is severe, do not hesitate to get professional help. You may be asked to undergo a cognitive behavioral therapy or attend a support group.

Learn more by contacting a medical professional by looking through our LocateADoc.com profiles to find a specialist in your area.