If you’ve had a successful birth but don’t feel a strong connection to your baby, you could be suffering from postpartum depression (PPD). It’s thought that one in seven women can develop PPD, and that number may be even higher due to unreported and mild cases.
At Physicians for Women in Madison, Wisconsin, our team of highly skilled obstetricians and The Madison Midwives provide women’s health services through all stages of pregnancy, birth, and beyond. If you think you might be suffering from PPD, here’s what you need to know:
What postpartum depression isn’t
There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about PPD. Let’s clear a few of those up right away:
Nope, postpartum depression isn’t preventable. This means it’s not caused by anything you did or didn’t do, and it’s definitely not your fault. Period. You’re not a bad parent, you’re not a failure, and you don’t hate your baby — you’re just suffering from chemical imbalances in your brain.
It’s just baby blues; you’ll snap out of it
While you’re likely to have some mood swings driven by sleep deprivation and the stress of being a new parent, PPD lasts longer than a few weeks and can have severe symptoms like unbearable anxiety, depression, and feeling disconnected from your child. You need help, as PPD doesn’t usually “go away on its own.”
It’s only a problem right after the birth of your baby
PPD does typically show up in the days or weeks after childbirth, but some parents can start having symptoms before the baby is even born, while others don’t have issues until a year after their child is delivered.
It’s only an issue for women
Surprise: men can get postpartum depression too. Up to one in 10 men are thought to suffer from PPD, and men are more likely to suffer depression if their partners have PPD.
It’s like schizophrenia
Some people insist you don’t have postpartum depression unless you’re hallucinating or hearing voices. Those are actually symptoms of postpartum psychosis, which is very rare. If you have symptoms like these and thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, you can get help by calling any of these resources.
Facts about postpartum depression
Here are some real facts about PPD that can help you recognize the signs and symptoms early.
You don’t need to have a history of depression to have PPD
Having clinical depression can increase your risk for postpartum issues, but about half of the women diagnosed with PPD are experiencing their first ever depressive episode.
You are at higher risk if any of these factors apply
If there’s a history of depression or mental illness in your family, you may be at higher risk for PPD. You may also be more likely to develop PPD if you have financial insecurity or live in a home where abuse is occuring.
You can be treated for depression while breastfeeding
While many antidepressants aren’t considered options for breastfeeding parents to take, there are certain ones that are safe. If you tell your mental health provider that you have PPD, they’ll select medications that are safe for you to take and won’t harm your baby.
If you’re having anxiety and depression during pregnancy, or feel these types of feelings coming on or increasing two weeks or more after the birth of your baby, tell us. We can get you the help you need for PPD so you can enjoy being a new parent. Call our office at 608-218-4835 today, or schedule a consultation using our online booking system.