The postpartum period can be critical, and it has been found that more than 85% of women experience mood-related issues during this phase. Most women may experience short and mild symptoms. On the contrary, there is a small percentage of women who may experience critical and might develop more significant symptoms. There is a need to understand that birth-related post-traumatic stress disorder conditions are rare but can significantly impact the new mother’s health. Life after pregnancy should be joyous and celebrated. However, some women go through a highly rough phase after giving birth. This article will discuss postpartum mental illness and what can be done to reduce the risk of these conditions.
Categories of Postpartum Mental Illness
Postpartum Mental Illness can be categorized into the following categories:
Postpartum Blues or Baby Blues
Most mothers commonly experience these conditions and symptoms known as Baby Blues. The condition may result in mood swings because of hormonal fluctuations that occur during pregnancy and after the childbirth phase. You may experience this somewhere after three to five days of the delivery. You must note that this condition is not considered a severe mental health disorder as the symptoms last only for a few weeks. If the condition or mood swings persist for more than two weeks, it should be considered a severe condition. It would be best if you reached out to a medical healthcare professional for assistance related to those symptoms.
Postpartum depression is a significant form of depression, and the symptoms may be more dominant than pregnancy blues. Most females experience this condition right after giving childbirth. It can last up to a year and more. It is a critical condition and can occur because of situational risks, hormonal changes, and other stressful life conditions. Counseling and anti-depressant medicines may be required to treat the disease. The disorder can even impact the beautiful bond between a mother and her child.
Birth-Related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
After giving birth, women can also experience birth-related post-traumatic stress disorder. It may increase the mother’s feelings of danger, anger, fear, or helplessness.
There are less than 10% of women often experience this condition. The symptoms can be severe and may start appearing after childbirth’s first or second week. Here are some of the signs that a new mother may experience in this condition after giving birth:
- Physical symptoms: Refusal to eat, frantic energy, inability to resume any activity.
- Mental symptoms: Memory loss, Incoherence, Confusion.
- Behavioral symptoms: Irrational statements, Paranoia.
Some women may experience hallucinations and delusions, making it difficult for them to live smoothly. You should be aware that Post-Partum Psychosis is the most severe form of the condition that a mother may experience after giving childbirth. It also represents an episode of bipolar illness.
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Depression is one of the most common conditions that new mothers experience, but childbirth leads to significant mood changes. It is likely that a woman may feel happy one moment and may get sad the next. Here are some of the common symptoms that every new mother after childbirth experiences:
- Feeling sad
- Less energy
- Feeling demotivated
- Loss of appetite
- Frequently crying or tearfulness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in life
- Feeling restless
- Unexplained weight loss or gain
- Experience trouble sleeping properly
- Feeling hopeless
- Showing little or no interest in newborn baby
- Not feeling any attachment to the infant baby
Who is at a Higher Risk of Experiencing Postpartum Illness?
There can be various reasons behind the occurrence of such conditions. Here are some of the risk factors which may cause the risk of postpartum illnesses:
- Age at the time of pregnancy (Younger women are more prone to experiencing such criticalities)
- Family history of such behavior
- Living alone
- Marital issues
- Having twins or triplets
- Having a child with special needs
- Limited social support
- Hormonal problems (drop in estrogen and progesterone)
- Lack of sleep
- Low self-esteem (feeling bad about self-image)
Postpartum Illnesses Complications
A postpartum illness can be a minor mood disorder, serious depression, or a severe psychotic mental illness. No matter the condition, it can weaken your bond with the baby and may harm you. It might impact you physically, emotionally, and socially. The newborn, father, and other family members will also face critical conditions because of this behavior. There are chances that the father may also find it difficult and may experience such conditions. Mothers who sustain such illnesses may not be able to look after their newborns. This can impact the newborn’s health and may delay their overall growth.
Preventing Postpartum Illnesses
A combination of drugs, medication, and psychotherapy can be used to treat postpartum illness. The treatment may vary depending on the symptoms and severity of the condition. In case of postpartum psychosis, hospital admission becomes necessary. You should consult your healthcare provider to discuss the medications if breastfeeding.
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Managing Life After Childbirth
Mothers often face various challenges after giving childbirth. Here are some tips to help you manage this phase easily:
- If you are unable to handle it yourself, you must ask for help
- Be realistic about your expectations for yourself and the newborn baby.
- Exercise and work out within limits.
- Follow a good and balanced diet.
- Foster a relationship with your partner and other family members.
- Do not isolate yourself.
- Sleep or rest when your baby sleeps.
Finally, you should be ready for the good and bad days. Take good care of your health during and after childbirth to reduce the risk of these conditions.
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