Why postpartum depression shouldn’t be ignored

Postpartum depression is a mental health condition that affects as many as one in seven new moms, but just because it’s so common, doesn’t mean it should be viewed as routine. Postpartum depression is a serious medical condition. The symptoms of mood disorders can be hard to recognize while they’re being experienced, but PPD can have a major effect on the whole family, so recognizing when there’s a problem, and getting treated for it, is absolutely critical for new parents.

How can PPD affect me?

Like other forms of clinical depression, postpartum depression can have debilitating effects on a person’s mental health. According to the Mayo Clinic, postpartum depression may involve severe mood swings, a loss of appetite, anxiety and panic attacks, overwhelming fatigue, and a reduced interest in activities one used to enjoy.

These aren’t feelings anybody wants to experience, and much less so when you’re in the early days of getting to know your brand new baby. PPD can, in some cases, have an impact on early parent-child bonding, and even when it doesn’t, it can make the early stages of parenting stressful and exhausting in ways that go beyond the norm for new parents.

How can PPD affect my little one?

Postpartum depression can have a significant impact on a developing infant, including a higher risk for language delays and behavioral issues. Studies about the impact of PPD on child development aren’t always conclusive about which of their findings are caused by PPD, and which are just associated with it, but in any case, shortening the duration of PPD by seeking treatment is good for the health of parents and children. New moms with PPD can also have trouble bonding with a new baby, or PPD can get in the way of attachment.

How can treatment help?

When it comes to mood disorders, there’s a certain amount of damaging stigma around treatment. Treatment can lead to less severe symptoms, and to much quicker recovery.

More than that, while depression medications can carry some risks, there is a wide range of types of treatments available. Healthcare providers can help guide new parents to the safest and most effective treatments.

Read more
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  • Elizabeth Fitelson, Sarah Kim, Allison Scott Baker, Kristen Leight. “Treatment of postpartum depression: clinical, psychological, and pharmacological options.” International Journal of Women’s Health. 3: 1-14. December 30 2010. Retrieved July 2 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3039003/.
  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “Postpartum depression.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, August 11 2015. Retrieved July 2 2018. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/postpartum-depression/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20376623.
  • Su-Chin Serene Olin, et al. “Can postpartum depression be managed in pediatric primary care?” Journal of Women’s Health. 25(4): 381-390. April 1 2016. Retrieved July 2 2018. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4834523/.
  • “Frequently asked questions: Postpartum depression.” ACOG. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, December 2013. Retrieved July 2 2018. https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Postpartum-Depression.
  • “Postpartum depression.” Anxiety and Depression Association of America. ADAA, July 2015. Retrieved July 2 2018. https://adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/women/postpartum-depression.
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