My third child (baby girl) had terrible colic for three months and I had terrible PPD. I so wish they had the Common Drugs Fight Postpartum Depression for PPD that they have today!
Please visit the Other Depressive Health Disorders where we have much information on the subjects of PMDD, PMS, which I believe all ties together..at least it seemed for me but back in 1976 no one knew any better or how to treat it, not even a pDoc.
We had little information until recently about risk factors, but we have been able to determine that there are some predisposing factors for postpartum depression. We do know that there are three components to determining risk: biological, psychological, relationship factors.
Risk factors for PPD:
History of depression, anxiety, panic, obsessive thoughts or behavior, mania
Low confidence as parent
Baby’s personality, health or disability
Super woman syndrome
Hormonal risks (thyroid imbalance, PMS, infertility, etc.)
I’m at risk, so now what?
There are many things that you can do to help ease postpartum depression before the birth of your next baby. One of the big things would be a good postpartum plan. One of the big things that this will do is to help you map out the trouble areas.
First of all, you need to remember to take care of yourself. Take breaks, accept help from others, nurture yourself. We tend to forget ourselves and become very absorbed in the baby. It is important that mom is well cared for too. This makes caring for the baby easier.
Be realistic. Avoid major life changes. It’s too much to ask to find a new job, move across the country and find a house within a month before the baby is born. Try your best to finish all major life changes before becoming pregnant. If that isn’t possible, do them as early in pregnancy as possible.
Develop a support system. One thing I always tell new moms is have a list of things that need to be done. When someone calls and offers support, read from the list. Not only does it help, especially if you have problems requesting help, but it keeps you a bit more organized. Most people genuinely want to help you.
Getting support from a professional before the end of your pregnancy is not a bad idea either. They can help you work through any issues you have, even if they are not birth related. This can also be someone to call on after the birth, someone you have a previous relationship with. Not to mention, this person will be able to help you map out your plans for postpartum emotionally. There are also support groups available.
Medications for depression are a hot topic for pregnant women. There have been some recent studies relating preterm labor and other problems with some of the anti-depressants taken during pregnancy. So make sure that you discuss this with your practitioner before attempting it.
When to seek help:
When following self-help plan and symptoms last more than 2-3 weeks
When talking feelings out with people does not help
Great difficulty with daily living
Remember that postpartum depression is very treatable. Find some ongoing support, make some plans, and sit back and enjoy.