Feeling sad, emotional or teary a couple of days after pregnancy is a common occurrence for most moms. There are many changes that take place in a woman’s body throughout her pregnancy. Thus, there’s an abundance of factors that may affect a mother’s emotional health post-pregnancy. This occurrence is often called “baby blues”. However, if a woman is suffering from this deep sadness or detachment for over 2 weeks after giving birth, she might have developed the condition known as postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression is a health problem being faced by 10-15% of women in Singapore who had just given birth. It is characterized by overwhelming sadness, emotional outbursts, dissociation and regretful feeling that stems from not being able to care for the child due to the unstable emotional state. Understanding postpartum depression can help save lives as well as get a friend, a relative or your spouse back in good disposition. In this sense, postnatal care plays a very important role. Today, we will share with you how proper caring for women after they gave birth is essential to their well-being. First, let’s take a closer look at the possible causes of postpartum depression.
Causes of postpartum depression
Before anything else, we have to understand that throughout the whole pregnancy cycle, women are undergoing several pains in varying degrees. Apart from the physical pain due to their changing bodies, outside factors such as emotional or physical abuse, uncertainties and other things that can trigger anxiety may also come into the picture. Below are some of the most common causes of postpartum depression according to clinical studies.
· Hormonal Changes
Most women undergo mood swings before or during their period. This is often attributed to the hormonal changes in their body during this sensitive time. Imagine how hormonal changes can affect a woman after childbirth. During pregnancy, a woman’s hormones are at their extremes. This is to accommodate the growing child and as preparation for their new roles as mothers. Right after pregnancy, these hormones are changing drastically, creating an imbalance. When coupled with weaknesses brought by delivery such as urinary incontinence, some women could easily feel helpless. Thus, their emotional responses are triggered.
· Changes in the Body
Apart from hormonal changes, the woman’s body is subjected to during and post-pregnancy, their physical bodies are also dramatically changing. For one, there is the presence of episiotomy and caesarean section that may leave a visible scar that takes time to heal. The skin on a woman’s belly also sagged after childbirth that causes postpartum belly which can make her insecure about her body. Since women have to deal with these conditions while recovering from painful delivery, postnatal care awareness is really important.
· Emotional Instability
Some changes in women’s emotions post-pregnancy are not due to hormones but rather brought by an environment that poorly supports her condition. When the pregnancy is unwanted or there is an emotional burden to a mother during pregnancy, the risk of developing postpartum depression is high.
· History of Depression
Studies show that women with a history of depression are likely to develop postpartum depression. In most cases, this factor contributes to situations wherein the trigger for depression cannot be pointed out. Postnatal care and psychological counselling can help.
How Can You Help?
When caring for someone suffering from postpartum depression, you must not be the first to give up. It might be difficult to watch your wife, sister, relative or friend in such a bad state but being by her side will make a lot of difference. Here’s how you can help:
· Encourage her to do physical rehabilitation
Since most of the changes that take place post-pregnancy have something to do with the body, physical exercises can help. Postpartum belly, stretch marks and excess weight can be contoured with the proper exercise.
· Motivate her to get psychological help
When dealing with postpartum depression, psychological guidance is very important. Part of good postnatal care is to have access to psychological help. A psychiatrist can help in advising how to ease anxiety and can prescribe medication when necessary.
· Keep her company
A company is essential post-pregnancy. Women will likely need assistance in doing their usual routines after childbirth. Once discharged from the hospital, it will take a couple of weeks for the mother to fully recover. Many women experience urinary incontinence and might require wearing pads. Having a company during this difficult time will really help to provide reassurance.
· Be a good listener
Listening can also help. If the trigger of the depression is something emotional, a hearing ear can do a lot. Reassuring a distressed mother that she has someone who understands her problems will help ease her mind of the burdens.
· Make sure that she’s practising a healthy lifestyle
Sleeping properly, good hygiene and eating a healthy diet will not only give her a healthy body but will also help her find emotional stability. In most cases, depression is worsened by a bad lifestyle such as sleeping late and skipping meals.
For more information about postnatal care, please visit Orchard Clinic today!