Postnatal Depression: Causes and Symptoms

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Pregnancy is one of the most important stages in a woman’s life. It is characterised by a lot of changes, varying from mental to physical to emotional. However, more changes tend to occur after childbirth. One of the most common problems that new mothers face, is postnatal depression.

What Is Postnatal Depression?

The birth of a baby can bring about a lot of emotions- ranging from joy and excitement to apprehension and anxiety. However, many mothers experience these ‘postnatal blues’ form quite a long time. While it is extremely common and can last up to a couple of weeks, some mothers develop postnatal depression. Simply put, postnatal depression is a kind of mood disorder that develops in mothers after childbirth.

What Are the Symptoms of Postnatal Depression?

The symptoms of postnatal depression can vary from mild to severe. The mild symptoms are called postnatal blues which is characterised by mood swings, anxiety, irritability, sleep disturbances, loss of appetite, etc. These symptoms last for about two weeks after the birth of child. While some mothers do not experience them, some do. However, in case of postnatal depression, these symptoms are more severe and can last as long as six months or more. Thereby, it is very important to keep track of the duration and intensity of the symptoms.

Some of the Common Symptoms of Postnatal Depression Are:

  1. Crying uncontrollably
  2. Severe mood swings
  3. Withdrawal symptoms
  4. Suicidal thoughts
  5. Anxiety and panic attacks
  6. Unreasonable rage and irritability
  7. Fatigue
  8. Insomnia
  9. Sleeping too much
  10. Lack of affection for the baby

What Are the Causes of Postnatal Depression?

History of Depression

One of the most common causes of postnatal depression is its history that runs through the family. If your mother or grandmother had developed postnatal depression during their childbirths, it is more likely that you will develop the same.

Physical Changes

Mainly, the physical changes are characterised by severe hormonal balances. There is a sharp increase in the levels of estrogen and progesterone in the body after childbirth, which leads to severe mood swings and other complications.

Emotional Changes

It is very normal to stress out during and after pregnancy. However, taking a lot of stress can result in postnatal depression.