After bouts of morning sickness, constant fatigue, swelling feet, and heartburn, many women count down the days until their pending due date. While it can be incredibly exciting and surreal to finally hold your baby, approximately 12 to 20 percent of new mothers experience postpartum depression after delivery.
Postpartum depression is a very serious condition that can impact your quality of life and make it difficult to take care of yourself and your baby. Many women with postpartum depression feel guilty or ashamed about their feelings and may become withdrawn from their loved ones and disconnected from their babies.
How Do You Know If You Have Postpartum Depression?
As many as 80% of new mothers experience the “baby blues,” so, it can be difficult for new moms to determine if they might have PPD. It’s normal and common for women to experience some moodiness and sadness right after giving birth. This is often caused by hormonal changes and lasts for about two weeks.
If these depression-like symptoms become more severe or last for longer than two weeks, it’s likely you have a postpartum mood disorder. A PPD screening test can also help determine if you have symptoms of postpartum depression. Many women receive these tests from their hospital or OBGYN after delivering their baby and during their postpartum checkup.
How Do Therapists Treat Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression treatment is similar to treatment for other types of depression disorders, such as major depressive disorder. Your psychiatrist will likely start with postpartum therapy, such as interpersonal psychotherapy, to help you process feelings of shame, isolation, and disappointment. Your therapist may also use cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to help identify any unhelpful thinking and behavioral patterns and help equip you with tools to change negative thought patterns and develop healthier coping methods.
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