We all expect the arrival of a new baby to be a joyous, happy time for every new parent. It can also be stressful. Adjusting to changes in your routine, your role as a new parent and not to forget the physical changes occurring in the body. With all this change, comes mood change. Mood changes are extremely common after giving birth. These changes can vary and can include postnatal depression, (PND). In fact, it is during the year of giving birth where a woman is most likely going to need in the psychiatric help , compared to another time in her life.
There are three mood disorders commonly found in the period after birth.
At one end of the spectrum is ‘baby blues’. This is the most common mood disorder affecting new mums and occurs withing two weeks of giving birth. Common reactions include: anxiety tearfulness and irritability.
The ‘blues’ are transient and usually pass.
The more extreme, or serious disorder is postnatal psychosis. This only affects about 1 in every 500 mums. It usually appears about one month post-delivery.
Symptoms include: severe mood disturbance and fluctuations with extreme highs and extreme lows disturbance in thought processes inability to sleep and inappropriate responses those around her and to the baby.
With appropriate treatment, which usually includes hospital treatments, women suffering from postnatal psychosis fully recover.
Between the severities of the blues and psychosis is PND. PND can occur unexpectedly 15% of women and 10% of men develop PND. When suffering with PND, there is very little control over the way they’re feeling. Unlike the other types, PND can begin during pregnancy, a condition refered to as antenatal depression, or it can begin suddenly after birth, or gradually in the weeks or months following the birth.
Symptoms of PND
Obsessive negative thoughts
Loss of concentration
Feeling guilty and inadequate
Loss of confidence and self-esteem
Loss of Appetite
Inability to sleep
PND symptoms can range in severity and duration Fathers can also suffer from PND. It is recommended you see a doctor if any of these, or similar symptoms, occur. PND is not something to be ashamed of. It is one of many complications of giving birth.
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