Depression during and after pregnancy.. The triggering hormones. postpartum blues. postpartum psychosis

Women suffering from depression during and after pregnancy:

Do you feel like things have changed after getting pregnant?
Do you think that things are different from what you had expected when you became a mother?

Depression during pregnancy and after childbirth

For many mothers, the experience of pregnancy and childbirth is often followed by sadness, fears, anxiety, and difficulty making decisions. Many women find it difficult to have the energy to take care of themselves, their babies, and their families. Some feel like hurting themselves or their children. These may be symptoms of depression. If this reminds you of someone you know, there are two things you need to know: She is not alone . Help is at your fingertips.

This article will first explain the possible causes of your feelings, and more importantly, how to get the help you need.

The triggering hormones:

There are many reasons why you may become depressed. Your body goes through many hormonal changes during and after pregnancy. When a woman is pregnant, her body produces the female hormones estrogen and progesterone in much larger amounts. However, during the first 24 hours after delivery, these hormone levels rapidly decline to levels that are no longer those of pregnancy. These sudden hormonal changes can trigger depression in the same way that menstrual hormones can trigger symptoms similar to those that occur during and after a woman's menstrual period.

decrease in thyroid hormones:

In some women, another possible cause of these symptoms after pregnancy is a decrease in thyroid hormones, which are produced by the thyroid gland (located in the neck). These hormones help regulate the way the body uses energy. Low thyroid levels can lead to feelings of depression or irritation, trouble sleeping and concentrating, and weight gain.

If you combine these changes in your body with the dramatic changes in your life, normal feelings such as feeling overwhelmed with new responsibilities, the pressure of being a "wonderful" mother, and the feeling of loss of life you had before, are a recipe for postpartum blues.

Risk factor's:

Some women are at higher risk of depression during and after pregnancy: 
  • Mother's personal history of depression and other mental illnesses is generally the greatest risk factor.
  • Family history of depression and other mental illnesses.
  • Lack of support from family and friends.
  • Depression or mental illness of the woman's partner.
  • Anxiety or negative feelings about the pregnancy.
  • Problems with previous pregnancies or childbirth.
  • Marriage or money problems.
  • stressful events.
  • Pregnancy at a very young age.
  • substance use disorder.
  • Domestic violence.
  • Chronic disease.

Risks of multiple pregnancies and premature births:

The risk is also higher with multiple pregnancies, premature births, or when babies are born with deficits.physical or neurodevelopmental problems whether congenital or acquired. Stressful transitions such as returning to work can also be a risk factor.

Minority, migrant, and refugee populations are most at risk because they face additional stress in coping and adapting to their new environment without help from family members locally, and with the added stress of financial problems and cultural barriers.

Although these risk factors help identify people who are most likely to have perinatal depression, any woman can experience it during pregnancy or in the year after giving birth.

Types of depression during and after pregnancy:

Depression during and after pregnancy generally falls into the following categories: (1)  postpartum blues  (2) perinatal depression (includes prenatal and postpartum) and (3) postpartum psychosis. There is help for all these cases.

postpartum blues:

Many women experience postpartum blues after giving birth. In fact, it's estimated that 50% to 80% of mothers experience "baby blues." For most women, baby blues are temporary—it usually goes away within a few days and can last up to 2 weeks after giving birth.

Symptoms of postpartum depression:

If you suffer from postpartum blues you can:
  • suffer from mood swings.
  • Feeling sad, anxious, or overwhelmed.
  • have crying spells.
  • lose appetite.
  • have trouble sleeping.

Ways to control postpartum depression:

The symptoms are usually not severe and there are relatively easy ways to control them:
  • Sleep well. Take naps when your baby sleeps.
  • Free yourself from self-imposed pressure. You don't have to do it all yourself, who can? Do what you can and leave the rest for later or for others to do.
  • Avoid spending too much time alone.
  • Ask your partner or family and friends for help and support.
  • Join a support group for new mothers.
  • Get enough exercise.

Perinatal depression (includes prenatal and postpartum):

Postpartum depression encompasses prenatal depression (during pregnancy) and postpartum depression (during the first year after childbirth). The symptoms of perinatal depression last longer than those of the "baby blues" and are more severe. It occurs in 1 in 5 women.

Pregnant women and new mothers who feel overwhelmed, frustrated, anxious, persistently tearful, or depressed should not suffer in silence or feel ashamed. Instead, they should see their doctors right away for help, and in some cases, treatment if needed.

Symptoms of perinatal depression:

Symptoms of perinatal depression can range from mild to severe. They can encompass the same symptoms as postpartum blues, but can also include:
  • Sleeping too much or not being able to sleep.
  • Lack of enjoyment of life.
  • emotional numbing.
  • Trouble concentrating, remembering things, and making decisions.
  • Lack of interest in personal care.
  • Not feeling like doing everyday tasks.
  • Withdrawal from family and friends.
  • Loss of sexual interest or sensitivity.
  • A marked feeling of failure or inadequacy.
  • severe mood swings.
  • Showing too much (or too little) concern for the baby.
  • High expectations and an overly demanding attitude.
  • Difficulty making sense of things.

treatments for perinatal depression:

There are effective treatments for perinatal depression. Treatment often consists of a combination of antidepressant medications, communication therapy, and supportive resources available in the community. Many women do not undergo treatment despite its effectiveness. Some are concerned about the risk that antidepressant medications may have for the health of the baby. It is important to consult directly with your doctor and communicate these fears.

The same tips for overcoming the "baby blues" can help overcome postpartum depression. Whatever steps you and your doctor decide to take, it's important to stick to your depression treatment plan. If things don't improve, don't hesitate to talk to your doctor or your child's pediatrician .

postpartum psychosis:

A very small number of women (1 or 2 in 1,000 women) may suffer from a rare and severe form of postpartum depression known as postpartum psychosis. Women who are diagnosed with bipolar disorders or schizoaffective disorder are at increased risk for postpartum psychosis.

Symptoms of postpartum psychosis:

Symptoms of postpartum psychosis usually begin during the first 4 weeks after delivery and may include:
  • extreme confusion.
  • feeling of hopelessness.
  • Inability to sleep (even when exhausted).
  • refusing to eat.
  • distrust other people.
  • See things or hear voices that are not there.
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or harming the baby or others.

Postpartum psychosis is temporary and can be treated with professional help, but it is an emergency situation that requires immediate attention.

Your partner may also suffer from depression:

New parents are also at risk for depression. In general, men tend to avoid expressing their feelings. They refuse to accept that they may be at risk and do not ask for help when they need it. However, parents with depression find it difficult to help their partners and children; this increases the risk of maternal depression. Depression in parents is thought to be treatable as well, but often goes unrecognized. See for more information: Dads Can Get Postpartum Depression, Too .

depression among couples:

There isn't much research on depression among same-sex couples or nonbiological parents, but clinical studies suggest that starting a new family can be a difficult transition for all parents. For this reason, any parent who is having difficulty coping with the stress of parenting or who has symptoms of depression should consult with their doctor or the child's pediatrician.

Talk to a health professional:

Screening for depression during and after pregnancy should be a routine part of your health care. Health professionals—such as your doctor, your baby's doctor, a nurse practitioner, or any other health care provider—are familiar with the types of depression that pregnant and new mothers face. They know ways to help her and can explain her options. They are willing to listen to her and can put her on the path to recovery.


Any woman can suffer from depression during pregnancy or after giving birth. This does not mean that she is a bad mother or that she is an incapable mother. In fact, getting treatment and asking for help helps him take better care of her baby. You and your baby do not have to suffer. Help is available.

All children deserve the opportunity to have a healthy mother. And all mothers deserve the opportunity to enjoy their lives and their children . If you feel depressed during pregnancy or after giving birth, don't suffer alone. Please tell a loved one and call your doctor as soon as possible.