Pregnancy and postpartum depression

Updated: Feb 17

Taking care of yourself as well as your mental health is often overlooked. Despite knowing it is beneficial to keep your mental health a priority. This is especially true when you’re pregnant or even before pregnancy as our bodies experience an amazing amount of change both mentally and physically.


In this blog, we will look at depression during and post pregnancy. The effects that it can have and also the effects of psychosis during as well as post-pregnancy. Finally we will look at how self-care will help take care of your mental health. However, it is important to keep in mind that sometimes we may need to seek further professional help and that is okay to do so.


What is postpartum depression?


Unfortunately, postpartum depression affects around 1 in 10 women and sadly some feel ashamed. This is not something anyone should ever feel ashamed about. The overall meaning of postpartum depression is that a new mother may begin to feel low or even numb after having a baby, leading to many effects which we discuss further down the blog.


Postpartum depression can occur anywhere from 2 weeks to even a year after having a baby. Sadly, many mothers suffer in silence and do not seek professional help. Many new mothers may be unaware they’re experiencing postpartum depression due to feeling too ashamed to speak up about how they're feeling and accept it as just being ‘the baby blues’ or lack of sleep.

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Depression in pregnancy


Depression in pregnancy, also known as Antenatal depression, that affects 1 in 8 women.

It may leave women feeling tired and burnt out or even disconnected from their unborn child. If depression during pregnancy is not treated it may lead to postpartum depression. Even when carrying a child our moods may affect their development. However, feeling calm and relaxed allows babies to develop in a calmer environment. Although, if a mother is constantly feeling stressed and anxious that could be presented to the unborn child and may put stress upon their body.

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Psychosis post-pregnancy


Psychosis is a serious mental health illness that can impact someone during or even soon after having a baby. It affects around 1 in 500 mothers after giving birth. Psychosis can affect those who may not even have a history of mental health problems. It can occur very suddenly after childbirth or may even take up to 12 weeks.


The word Psychosis refers to a loss of reality, meaning someone may hear or see things that are not there (hallucinations). In some encounters, some new mothers may feel everyone is against them developing paranoia or even powerful delusions (beliefs that conflict with reality).


Postpartum psychosis can cause drastic mood shifts and serious symptoms that may include:

  • Extreme sudden mood swings.

  • Being aggressive or violent.

  • Being very agitated.

  • Speaking in a disordered or nonsensical way.

  • Having irrational or delusional thoughts or beliefs.

  • Having hallucinations and changes in sense perception (like smelling, hearing, or seeing things that are not there).

  • Feeling paranoid.

  • Finding it hard to concentrate.

  • Not being able to sleep.

  • Responding unusually or inappropriately towards the baby.

  • Thinking of or planning to harm yourself or your baby.

There is loads of help and support that can be offered to treat postpartum psychosis.

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Symptoms and effects of depression during and post-pregnancy

Being a new mum is not easy. In most cases, after having a baby many women feel run down, burnt out, even teary for the first two weeks after having a baby. These emotions are to be expected due to your body's major change. However, if these emotions continue one may be suffering postpartum depression.

Symptoms of postpartum depression may include:

  • A constant feeling of sadness and low mood.

  • Lack of enjoyment or loss of interest.

  • Lack of energy and feeling tired all the time.

  • Trouble sleeping at night or even feeling sleepy during the day.

  • Difficulty bonding with your baby.

  • Withdrawing contact with other people.

  • Problems concentrating and making decisions.

  • Frightening thoughts - for example, hurting your baby, yourself, or others.

Postpartum depression may make you feel as if you have failed as a mother. However, this is not something people have to experience alone nor does it mean anyone has failed. There is nothing wrong with receiving professional help, there are also lots of self-help and self-care methods you can use. The KEY is not to feel alone and to reach out and get the help and support you deserve.

Self-help for depression during and post-pregnancy

Taking care of our mental health can be difficult at times. Although sometimes, all it takes is a few minor changes that may make the biggest differences.

Things like:

  • Having a well-set morning routine helps us feel more in control and prepared for our day.

  • Getting out in the sunlight, going for a walk.

  • Giving yourself some quality bonding time with your baby.

  • Taking time to yourself even if only briefly for a hot drink.

This blog highlights the importance of taking care of YOUR mental health.

It is critical to understand that taking care of your health is just as important as taking care of your new-born.

If you would like to expand your understanding and knowledge of mental health, the signs, triggers and help available, we provide Mental Health First Aid courses run by MHFA which will qualify you as a Mental Health First Aider, certified under Mental health First Aid England.

We also offer Menopause and Menopause in the workplace courses. For more information email: bookings@yourhealthcareacademy.com.

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Sources used;

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/baby/support-and-services/feeling-depressed-after-childbirth/ (1)

https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/keeping-well/depression/ (2)

https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/postpartum-psychosis (3)

https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/how-to-deal-with-postpartum-depression (4)


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I am a multi-award-winning women's healthcare advocate.

 

I am extremely passionate about women's healthcare and mental health.

Did you know that - You are more likely to meet someone about to attempt suicide than about to have a heart attack? Everyone should know what to do.

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