Postpartum depression (PPD) or postnatal depression is not a weakness or a character flaw. Sometimes it is just a complication that is associated with giving birth to a baby. If you are suffering from postpartum depression (PPD), then getting a proper treatment may help in managing the symptoms and help you in caring for the baby in the right manner.

Postpartum depression (PPD) or postnatal depression can be treated and it seems to affect around 13% of American women after delivering the baby. It can affect within a few weeks or may take a year to show signs in a woman. But commonly it occurs in women in the first three months after delivery. Postpartum depression (PPD) or postnatal depression can be difficult to be identified as the moodiness including all the other symptoms may be identical to baby blues. However, baby blue is temporary and affects most mothers.

How long can Postpartum Depression or Postnatal Depression Last?

Studies have shown that the symptom of postpartum depression (PPD) may subside with time and in some women the depression may stay for a longer time. Weeping and experiencing mood swings can be common after the child is born. But when these symptoms seem to become persistent and stern, it could be a warning sign for postpartum depression. As it is already known that postpartum depression may be seen in the first 6 weeks and it may not become better on its own.

How long can Postpartum Depression or Postnatal Depression Last

Thus, diagnosing the postpartum depression (PPD) or postnatal depression symptom is extremely important in the early stages as the doctors will be able to suggest the right treatment without affecting the health of the baby. The studies that have been done on the basis of postpartum depression (PPD) reviewed that the symptoms decreased over time and the grades of these symptoms were same as that of clinical depression that were found in most women. The reviews found that the women who were experiencing postpartum depression (PPD) or postnatal depression showed persistent symptoms.

Certain women, who were seeking medical help, experienced this kind of depression for 1 year or longer after delivering the child. Studies also showed that women who were not receiving any kind of medical treatment continued to feel depressed for three long years as well.

Factors that Increase the Risk for Chronic Depression after Childbirth?

Studies have also shown that women who went through depression after childbirth experienced it because of the depression that they were experiencing before. The evidences of a poor relationship with the partner, pre-existence of depression, stress and sexual abuse were quite prominent which led to depression after delivering the baby.

Some reviews were also drawn in relation to the mothers who had low income and belonged to a minority community. However, there was no enough data that could support these findings.

Getting Rid of Postpartum Depression or Postnatal Depression without Medications

If the postpartum depression (PPD) or postnatal depression lasts for more than few weeks, it is not possible to get rid of it without medications; however there are few things you can do to recover quickly.

  • Get additional rest than the required amounts. Follow sleep hygiene in an excellent manner. If you have adults who are supportive, then educate them about the sleep hygiene that has to be followed and get their help in setting them up for you as well. They can help you in caring for the baby or doing other chores, so that you can get enough sleep or rest that you need after delivering the baby.
  • Eat essential nutrients. By eating enough nutrients, the hormone regulation in the body will be improved in an outstanding manner. This will also make a huge impact on the overall health. While the body is healing, or is stressed, it needs extra nutrients to get through the troubled time. You will need to flush extra nutrients in your body so that the neuro- transmitters get enough support and the hormones are balanced.
  • Cut down the stress levels. Preventing and releasing the stress can be two ways by which it can be reduced. Learn to avoid going to any social event when you have very less energy left, take help from others for handling all the chores and turn down unwanted stress that comes along. If you ask for help, there may be many people who will be willing to offer it in the best way. Make a list of all such people whom you consider seeking for help and try to connect with them.
  • Meditate or pray. Religious changes and spiritual growth will help in transitioning well. Relying on spiritual means will help you in coping with the new changes that you are going through as a parent.

Getting Rid of Postpartum Depression or Postnatal Depression with Medications

Postpartum depression (PPD) or postnatal depression can be treated effectively with counseling and medication.

  • Individual Counseling: A mental health professional, psychologist or psychiatrist may talk through all your concerns regarding postpartum depression (PPD). By undergoing counseling, you will be able to cope well with the feelings, set realistic goals and the problem solving ability may also improve. Relationship or family therapy may also be of great help.
  • Antidepressants: Using antidepressants for treating postpartum depression (PPD) or postnatal depression has been in practice. If you are breast feeding your baby, then it has to be known that traces of these medications will be found in the milk. However, there are many such medications that will cause minimum side effects to the baby. Be in contact with your doctor for understanding all the potential benefits and risks that are associated.
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy: The estrogen in the body of a woman can be successfully replaced by undergoing estrogen replacement therapy. This may help in easing the signs of postpartum depression in fewer women. A research has been done on the effectiveness of this therapy and it is found to be limited. Prior to beginning with the treatment, be sure to discuss the risks and benefits with the doctor.

With the right treatment, postnatal depression resides in a few months. However, it may take longer time to cure in some women. It is important to carry on with the treatment even after you begin to feel comfortable.

Getting Rid of Postpartum Psychosis

Postpartum psychosis is often done in the hospital and it needs immediate treatment. When the safety aspects have been dealt with, some medications like mood stabilizers, antidepressants, antipsychotic drugs may be used for controlling the symptoms. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is also suggested at times for getting a permanent relief.

When ECT is being done, electrical current in small amounts is passed through the brain. The chemical changes that are stimulated due to the electric current will help in reducing the symptoms of depression when all the other methods have failed to work or do not grant immediate results.

Postpartum psychosis treatment can affect the ability of a mother to breast feed the child. When the mother is separated from the baby, it can make it difficult to breastfeed. Some medications may however interfere with the quality of breast milk, so this must be discussed with the doctor before taking any medications.

Things to do at Home to Help get rid of Postpartum Depression or Postnatal Depression

Postpartum Depression (PPD) or Postnatal Depression is not a general condition that can be self-treated at home. However, there are some things which can prove to be helpful in the treatment plan and will aid in speedy recovery.

  • Choose to lead a healthy lifestyle. Avoid consuming alcohol, eat foods that are healthy and do physical activities that will keep you healthy.
  • Set realistic goals. Do not over pressurize yourself for doing things that is out of your comfort zone. Do all the things that you can and leave the ones that you cannot fulfill. Seek help when in need.
  • Give enough time to yourself. If you feel stressed, take some time and relax. Meet a friend and do something that will soothe your senses. Take some time out and spend it with your partner.
  • Believe in making positive responses. When you face negative challenges, maintain your focus on things that are positive. Even when you cannot change the entire situation, changing the perception will be of great help. Enroll in courses of cognitive behavioral therapy for learning to think positive.
  • Avoid staying isolated. Connect with your partner and speak about your feelings in the right manner. Take referrals from your doctor to join support groups and speak with other mothers who are suffering from postpartum depression.

You can take care of your baby in the best way by caring for yourself.

Exercises to Help get rid of Postpartum Depression or Postnatal Depression

A study has revealed that exercise can help in relieving the postpartum depression (PPD) or postnatal depression in an outstanding way. The improvements that were seen after exercising stayed for a longer time as compared to all the other women who did not exercise. Mental health is in coordination with physical health and taking part in exercises can help you in feeling better and less depressed.

What type of Exercise is Best for Postpartum Depression (PPD) or Postnatal Depression?

Most exercises seem to benefit women who suffer from postpartum depression (PPD) or postnatal depression. However, the most convenient way is to do pram walking as it is extremely safer to walk after delivering the baby.

Gentle exercises that involve baby can be included in a woman's life and this makes exercising more enjoyable too. If you love being physically active, then there are certain things that have to be kept in mind and they are:

  • Do not exercise when you are tired and have poor health.
  • Focus on keeping a better posture at all times.
  • Listen to what your body says and increase the rest periods accordingly.
  • If there is bleeding or pain, refrain from exercising.
  • Begin with slow exercises and gradually move to ones that are tough.
  • Avoid doing hip exercises until the pelvic girdle has completely stabilized and improved.
  • Do not include those activities where there is rapid direction change.
  • Never run or do high impact workouts within first three months after childbirth.
  • Do not over heat your body.
  • Avoid those exercises that can cause soreness, muscle aching and fatigue.
  • Indulge in necessary hydration and keep your energy level to the mark.
  • Undergo 3 to 5 sessions of workout in a week.
  • Begin with 10 minute routine and gradually increase to 30 minutes every session.

Be kind to your body and never over exert yourself.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: May 13, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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