Postpartum Depression- Meaning, Symptoms, Causes & Ways to Deal With It

Studies reveal that an alarming number of women around the world suffer from many psychological disorders. Of disorders, the most prevalent is depression. Although, the exact cause of depression is many times unknown, the most associative cause seems to be a great change in the hormonal balance in a woman’s body. Moreover, depression is even more common in new mothers as the body undergoes a massive hormonal change during as well as post delivery. Such a form of depression is also referred to as postpartum depression. However, there are many more factors that could be responsible in triggering this depression in women, post delivery. As it is, Often men face many challenges after welcoming their bundle of joy, but if they dive into depression the experience of having a baby becomes difficult.

Let’s look at some common symptoms that indicate someone you know is suffering from postpartum depression.

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  1. Frequent bouts of crying for irrelevant / very petty issues
  2. A flood of anger 
  3. Excessive sleeping 
  4. Neglect towards the new born or lack of emotions
  5. Insomnia
  6. Lack of interest in day to day activity
  7. Lack of willingness to socialize 
  8. Not getting out of the house or even the room 
  9. Loss of appetite
  10. Sadness 
  11. Feeling of emptiness
  12. Helplessness 
  13. Feeling of loneliness

The terms delivery blues and postpartum depression (PPD) are often interchangeably used by people. However, one must note that although the two phenomenons have almost the same symptoms, the severity and duration differs. Delivery blues do not last for a long period and generally the problem gets resolved on its own within 2 weeks. In addition, if it lasts more than 2 weeks, then it’s a serious condition to consider. Depression lasts for a longer period and needs to be addressed by a medical practitioner. Note that some anti depression medicines are usually safe for nursing mothers and do not affect the newborn baby. It can take some time to diagnose, select and prescribe the most suitable anti-depression medication for each case.

So, what causes such type of depression? Let’s look at some reasons:


  1. Gender blues, where the gender of the child does not turn out to be as desired resulting in the mother spiraling into depression
  2. Existing history of depression
  3. Severe PMS
  4. Complicated pregnancy and delivery
  5. History of miscarriage or still birth before this delivery
  6. Thyroid before or during pregnancy which continues post pregnancy (thyroid can affect the hormonal balance and lead to depression)

While postpartum depression in mothers is common and known to many, did you know that some fathers too suffer from such depression? Yes—it has been discovered that in many cases the husband or the male partner who becomes a father also undergoes postpartum depression after delivery of a new born. Increased responsibilities, changing dynamics of the relationship with the partner or  feeling of being left out as most of the attention of family members is towards the baby are some causes.

Whatever the reason may be you must discuss your feelings with your partner , if the feelings relating to depression are persistent for more than a span of 2-3 weeks, it might need intervention from your medical practitioner and might require appropriate medication for the condition.

Effects of postpartum depression:

This condition of depression can have a fatal effect on a woman’s overall health and well-being. It not only affects the health of the mother but also the health of the new born. It can prevent the new mother a from bonding, caring, giving love to the baby and even enjoying the new-found pleasures of motherhood. Research in this field has revealed that a depressed mother can affect the emotional, social and physical health of the baby. Such babies can grow with many problems that prevent them from having a healthy relationship with others and bonding with peer group.

How to address the problem:
The most important action is to identify your problem and discuss with your partner or any family member or friend you feel comfortable with. Sometimes the person suffering from depression cannot identify their condition. In such cases, it’s the responsibly of the partner or other family members to identify the unusual symptoms depicted by the new mother or father. If the condition is lasting for more than 2-3 weeks, a medical practitioner’s intervention may be required. Timely action is extremely important as depression can lead to further health problems.

Try these things while dealing with postpartum depression:

Change in environment
Stepping out of the house for walks
Seeking help from partner or other family members
Yoga and exercising
Calling over friends for get togethers
Stealing a nap if you feel like it without worrying of the pending household work

All these actions help relieve the symptoms of depression and in case of gender blues, bring a lot of relief. However, note that in case of severe depression, timely intervention by a doctor is a must.One can also get from information from National Institute of Mental Health website


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