Understanding Post-partum Depression

By: James Pendergraft

Pregnancy and delivery can have a lot of effects on a woman’s health. In most cases, a woman is caught unprepared for life after pregnancy. As a result, adjusting to the new life becomes a major challenge, which is likely to alter family relations. However, with sufficient knowledge as well as the proper mental outlook, women may be able to cope with post-partum depression.

What Is Post-partum Depression?

Post-partum depression refers to the changes both in terms of physical and emotional aspects in a woman after pregnancy. What exactly causes post-partum depression is something that still eludes medical experts up to the present. What is certain is that most people simply refer to the episode as “the blues,” which is a nonchalant way of pointing something that is more than just casual. What is more certain is that the episode may manifest a few days after delivery and may last for weeks or even months, the duration of which depends on the coping mechanism employed by women and those around her.

Because of the lack of certainty as to what exactly causes post-partum depression, a lot of theories have been put forward in an effort to provide a more plausible explanation for the situation. Some say that lack of sleep and the long time spent at the hospital is the culprit. Still, some say that bodily and hormonal changes are the reasons for it, while others say it is simply exhaustion that causes it.

Types of Post-partum Depression

If the causes of post-partum depression are less certain, what is certain is that there are generally three types of the depression according to the severity of symptoms.

1. The first type is known as “baby blues.” This is the slightest form of post-partum depression. Some new parents may be surprised that such a situation could actually exist. However, this is considered to be normal. This stage is characterized by irritability and depression, which may last for a week or even longer. This is mainly due to fluctuating hormones.
2. The second stage is more serious than the first one. This type is commonly known as “nonpsychotic depression.” Although this type is more advanced than the first type, medical attention is not a necessity as the symptoms are likely to fade in time. The signs and symptoms are as follows:

a) Lack or absence of concentration. In some instances, a woman may not be able to properly care for her and her baby’s health.

b) There is either a suppression of appetite on the part of the woman or overindulgence in eating.

C) Fatigue is common. Moreover, sleep disturbances are also common.

In some instances, a woman may feel that she is an unfit mother, losing interest in the things she once enjoyed doing

3.The third type of post-partum depression is the most serious of all. This is because a woman may experience visual or auditory hallucinations. This type of psychosis is decidedly more severe than the previous two. In this type, medical assistance may be necessary to help the woman retain her senses.

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