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Postnatal depression can bring on chronic feelings of shame, loneliness, and hopelessness. According to the HSE up to 10% of people experience depression after the birth of a child. Only 25% of women with postnatal depression seek psychiatric treatment as part of their recovery plan. At Lloydspharmacy we are here to support and encourage you on your journey to recovery. It is vital you reach out to a friend, your pharmacist, or your doctor. There are three main types of postnatal mood changes that can occur within the first year after giving birth.
Postnatal Mood Changes:
- Baby Blues: The baby blues usually begin 2 – 4 days after giving birth. Feelings such as vulnerability, irritability, loneliness, and weariness begin to present. Typically, these over whelming feelings can pass within a few weeks with the support of your friends, family, and partner.
- Puerperal Psychosis: Affecting 1 in 500 new mothers this is the rarest and most extreme variant of postnatal mood change. Puerperal psychosis is a condition relating to any form of mental illness in which you lose contact with reality six weeks after childbirth. Symptoms begin soon after the birth, usually with the mother becoming restless, mildly confused, and unable to sleep. This form of depression usually requires hospital care. You are most at risk of postpartum psychosis if you have a history of mental illness.
- Postnatal depression: It may affect up to 1 in 6 new mothers. The condition may present itself as “the baby blues” worsening as the weeks go on. It may be most obvious when your baby is 4 - 6 months old
Postnatal Depression Signs:
- Loss of interest in your baby
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Excessive crying
- Feelings of not being able to cope
- Not being able to enjoy anything
- Memory loss or being unable to concentrate
- Excessive anxiety about the baby
- Feeling rejected by your baby
Factors That Can Influence Postnatal Depression
- A history of mental illness
- Hormonal changes
- Changes in lifestyle
- Aspirational images of motherhood
Manging Feelings Of Doubt:
- Be open about your feelings, worries and anxiety
- Believe that you will get better, and this time will pass
- Take every opportunity to rest
- Celebrate the little things
- Prioritise self-care
Treatment Options Available
- Psychological therapy – a GP may be able to refer you for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). This form of therapy is designed to help gain a better understanding and perspective on your mental health. Throughout the process you will find new ways to spot triggers and manage your feelings. This therapy pays attention to the way in which we interpret events that happen to us and allows us to learn how to re-evaluate future outcomes and break certain patterns of behaviour.
- Medication - Your doctor may recommend a course of antidepressants if your condition is more severe and other treatments have not worked. Your doctor can prescribe a medicine that's safe to take while breastfeeding.
Overview - Postnatal depression - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Postnatal depression - Causes - HSE.ie