Maternal Mental Health: Postpartum Depression vs Baby Blues – Early Signs, Symptoms And Treatment – The Daily Connection

Postpartum Depression vs Baby Blues: For the best course of therapy, it is crucial to distinguish between the normal and temporary baby blues and the more dangerous postpartum depressive disorder.

Maternal Mental Health
Maternal Mental Health: Postpartum Depression vs Baby Blues – Early Signs, Symptoms And Treatment

Maternal Mental Health: Pregnancy as well as labour are the most profound and life-changing experiences of a woman’s life. At the heart of this journey lies, intense delight, anticipation, and a flood of emotions. Along with this delight, however, the postpartum time presents a challenging issue: the mother’s mental health. While it is easier to witness the physical changes that a woman’s body goes through, it is at times difficult to gauge the psychological transformation. Dr Pranathi Reddy A, Director – Obstetrics and Gynecology BirthRight by Rainbow Hospital said, “22% of mothers suffer from postpartum depression in India. The Asian Journal of Psychiatry titled ‘Depressed Motherhood: Prevalence and Covariates of Maternal Postpartum Depression among Urban Mothers in India’ published a report highlighting the issue of postpartum among Indian women in March 2021. It is necessary to probe into this critical issue, with a particular emphasis on differentiating between the usual baby blues and the more serious disease known as postpartum depression (PPD).”

Postpartum Depression vs Baby Blues

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a more severe and long-lasting disorder that affects 10-15% of new moms. Unlike the baby blues, which usually go away on their own, PPD is characterized by persistent and incapacitating symptoms that can have a substantial impact on a woman’s daily life. The symptoms of postpartum depression are very similar to those of baby blues but are more intense and long-lasting. It is crucial to recognize these symptoms to prevent your loved one from suffering alone.

What Are Baby Blues And How to Identify Them?

It is completely natural for new moms to feel a wide range of emotions in the days following childbirth. These feelings are sometimes referred to as the ‘Baby Blues.’ The baby blues usually appear within the first few days after labour and can last for up to two weeks.

Mood fluctuations, tearfulness, impatience, and feelings of depression characterize the baby blues. New moms may experience unexplained sobbing or get overwhelmed by the pressures of caring for their baby. “It is critical to emphasize that having the baby blues does not imply that a woman is failing or is not capable enough; rather, it is a natural reaction to the enormous hormonal swings and life changes accompanied by childbirth,” said Dr Pranathi Reddy A.

What is Postpartum Depression? Know Signs And Symptoms

Postpartum depression is caused by a variety of factors, including hormonal imbalances, genetic susceptibility, sleep loss, and the stress of adjusting to motherhood. Importantly, PPD can afflict any woman, regardless of age, financial background, or past history of mental illness. The expert shared a list of early signs and symptoms of postpartum depression to keep an eye out for.

  • Depressed mood or severe mood swings
  • Crying too much
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Loss of appetite or eating much more than usual
  • Inability to sleep, called insomnia, or sleeping too much
  • Overwhelming tiredness or loss of energy
  • Less interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
  • Intense irritability and anger
  • Fear that you’re not a good mother
  • Hopelessness
  • Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt or inadequacy
  • Reduced ability to think clearly, concentrate, or make decisions
  • Restlessness
  • Severe anxiety and panic attacks
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide

Treatment Options and Recovery

  1. Therapy: Psychotherapy (CBT or IPT) helps manage PPD symptoms and develop coping strategies, providing a safe space to discuss feelings and concerns.
  2. Medication: Antidepressants, under medical guidance, can alleviate PPD symptoms, often in conjunction with therapy, and can help restore a sense of emotional balance.
  3. Support Groups: A good way to let out their experiences, a new mother can feel heard and these support groups offer a sense of community and understanding, and new moms can gain valuable insights from others.
  4. Self-Care: Prioritize self-care with exercise, nutrition, sleep, and relaxation techniques to improve mental health, promoting overall well-being during the recovery process.

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