Did you know that postpartum depression is a diagnosable mood disorder that affects up to one out of every seven American women who give birth? More concerning than so-called “baby blues,” postpartum depression can drag on for weeks to months, impacting how a woman perceives her self-worth and ability to be a good mother. Keep reading to find out what mothers should know about postpartum depression before giving birth, and how you can get convenient, confidential telemedicine care for this treatable mental health issue from Show Low Family Clinic.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression can happen to anyone, including experienced mothers and those that had relatively straightforward childbirth experiences. Even though the term is“postpartum” depression, which means “depression after birth,” many women report symptoms beginning during pregnancy. For other mothers, symptoms may start weeks to months after their child is born.
While the onset of postpartum depression may vary, most women experience many of the following symptoms, including but not limited to:
- Persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness
- Inability to sleep or sleeping too much
- Poor appetite or overeating
- Apathy toward once-enjoyed activities
- Racing thoughts
- Trouble concentrating
- Irritability and angry outbursts
- Fear of being alone with the newborn
- Little interest in spending time with the newborn, friends, or family
- Anxious or panicky feelings
- Feeling that you may hurt or neglect your new baby
- Thoughts of self-harm, hurting the baby, or suicide
In the case of self-harm or harming the infant, put the baby in the crib or other safe place, and call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention hotline at 988.
If you are not experiencing an emergency but still need help, call the Postpartum Support International helpline at 1-800-944-4773 (4PPD). This is a great resource where you can speak to a trained volunteer who can help you find nearby support resources, allowing for more personalized care on this difficult journey.
While any mother can suffer from postpartum depression, there seem to be certain risk factors that predispose individuals to the condition. These include:
- A family or personal history of depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions
- Little family or spousal support after childbirth
- Having a baby who is medically fragile (premature, for instance) or who is fussy or colicky
- First-time motherhood at a very young or advanced age
- Financial worries or concerns about living arrangements
If you think you have postpartum depression, know that you don’t have to face it by yourself. You can always reach out to your primary care physician or OB/GYN for treatment options. Additionally, talk with your significant other, a parent, a trusted friend, or a spiritual counselor, and be honest about how you feel. Don’t be ashamed to ask for practical help in caring for the baby.
Other strategies include joining a mother’s support group and asking close friends or relatives to help you care for your baby so you can take a break and/or get some much-needed rest. Plus, remember that housework will always be there, and be realistic about how much you can do while taking care of a newborn. Try to prioritize caring for yourself and for your baby and let other less important tasks go for a time.
Treatment for Postpartum Depression at Show Low Family Clinic
If you have experienced any of the symptoms above or want to know what you can do to avoid postpartum depression after you give birth, Show Low Family Clinic is here to help. Our primary care services include private, confidential, and effective appointments for women who need medication for postpartum depression or other common health issues.
Show Low Family Clinic was founded in 2023 by Sharon Zell, a Family Nurse Practitioner certified in Arizona and Washington. She has almost 30 years of experience in the medical field and works hard to establish long, trusting relationships with her patients so they can feel their best in the long term. She will help you define your PPD symptoms and discuss treatments for this disorder or for other health issues you may have.