Charles Chamblee, D.Min., L.P.C.-S., T.A.-S, Baptist Health Behavioral Clinics, Clinical Director
Having a baby is a huge change in any woman’s life. No matter how much you research, no one is 100% prepared for the physical, emotional, and psychological effect it can have on them. At Baptist Health, we want to ensure that postpartum depression (PPD) isn’t shrouded in mystery; after all, it affects up to 15% of new mothers.
There are several physical and emotional challenges that can face new mothers, and these challenges can affect each woman in a unique way. The ‘baby blues’ is a very common postpartum struggle that affects over 70% of new mothers. Symptoms include: sadness, anxiousness, being weepy, and/or depressed after giving birth. These symptoms will generally resolve on their own in a few days.
PPD is a more serious concern that occurs due to a chemical change in a woman’s body. After giving birth, levels of progesterone and estrogen drop rapidly, triggering mood swings. This, in tandem with a lack of sleep and continuous exhaustion causes postpartum depression.
For those of you wondering if you have postpartum depression, here are a few signs that you can watch out for:
1. You’re experiencing anxiety and irritability at levels that are different from pre-birth
2. You feel hostility or indifference towards your baby
3. You have guilt that you can’t explain
4. You are experiencing overall negativity when you are normally a more positive individual
5. You are exhausted even after getting enough rest
If you have noticed signs of PPD in yourself, we recommend that you see your primary care provider who may refer you to a licensed mental health provider.
It is also recommended that women experiencing symptoms of PPD do the following:
- Communicate openly with family, close friends, and your partner
- Join a support group for new mothers
- Have a close family member or friend help you with child care
- Get plenty of rest
Baptist Health wants to remind every new mother that postpartum depression is no one’s fault. It is a psychological condition that is treatable, and Baptist Health is here to help you navigate.
If you need a primary care provider, find one at Baptist Health.