Understanding Postpartum Depression

Understanding Postpartum Depression

Although references to postpartum depression date back as far as the 4th century BC, it has not always been recognized as a disorder and continues to be under-diagnosed.
If you are suffering from postpartum depression, remember that you are not alone and that you are not to blame – up to 20% of new mothers experience postpartum depression. Women suffering from postpartum depression tend to experience the following symptoms:
• Despondency
• Sadness
• Feelings of inadequacy
• Guilt
• Anxiety
• Irritability
• Fatigue
• Headaches
• Numbness
• Chest pain
• Hyperventilation
The depression can begin at any time between delivery and 6 months post-birth, and may last up to several months or a year.

Risk factors for developing postpartum depression

Although the exact cause of postpartum depression is not known, several risk factors have been identified:
• Changes in hormonal levels
• Expectations of motherhood
• Maternal age
• History of depression
• Severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
• Lack of a support network
• Stressful events during the pregnancy or after delivery

Coping with postpartum depression

Here are some suggestions for coping with postpartum depression:
• Focus on short-term, rather than long-term goals
• Build something to look forward to every day, such as a walk
• Engage in pleasurable activities
• Spend time with your partner and close friends
• Share your feelings and experience with friends and family
• Look for a local support group
Treatment for postpartum depression is effective, and the sooner the condition is diagnosed, the more effective the treatment will be. A Montreal psychologist or Montreal therapist could help you or someone you know suffering from postpartum depression alleviate and treat the symptoms in an efficient manner.
Acknowledging your condition and seeking help are the two fundamental steps you need to improve your health.



About the Author:

Dr Chow is a licensed clinical psychologist with a private clinic in Saint-Laurent (Montreal) and in Saint-Lambert on the South Shore. She received her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Concordia University. She is also a member of the Order of Psychologists of Quebec.