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Postpartum Depression/post partum depression

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Question
QUESTIONS

1. Can you give us a brief explanation about Post Partum Depression?

2.What are the symptoms of PPD?

3. What factors contribute to the development of Post Partum Depression?

4. What are the effects of this disorder to the baby as well as to the mother?

5. How can we avoid PPD?

6. .How long does PPD lasts?


7.. How would you possibly help someone who is suffering from PPD?


 8. Is there a predisposition to PPS? What is your advice for mothers who are     susceptible to this disorder?




9. What do you think society’s obligations are to people with this kind of disorder?

10.What is the best treatment of this disorder?

Answer
Dear Flora,
Well you ask A LOT of great questions. And just as a matter of letting you know, I am not a doctor. I am simply a mom who went through severe PPD after the birth of my twins. So my answers are gleaned from the best resources I have come across online.

1.   PPD is a common problem during and after pregnancy. About 13 percent of pregnant women and new mothers have depression.
2.    When you are pregnant or after you have a baby, you may be depressed and not know it. Some normal changes during and after pregnancy can cause symptoms similar to those of depression. But if you have any of the following symptoms of depression for more than 2 weeks, call your doctor:
•   Feeling restless or moody
•   Feeling sad, hopeless, and overwhelmed
•   Crying a lot
•   Having no energy or motivation
•   Eating too little or too much
•   Sleeping too little or too much
•   Having trouble focusing or making decisions
•   Having memory problems
•   Feeling worthless and guilty
•   Losing interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
•   Withdrawing from friends and family
•   Having headaches, aches and pains, or stomach problems that don’t go away
Your doctor can figure out if your symptoms are caused by depression or something else.
3.   There is no single cause. Rather, depression likely results from a combination of factors:
•   Depression is a mental illness that tends to run in families. Women with a family history of depression are more likely to have depression.
•   Changes in brain chemistry or structure are believed to play a big role in depression.
•   Stressful life events, such as death of a loved one, caring for an aging family member, abuse, and poverty, can trigger depression.
•   Hormonal factors unique to women may contribute to depression in some women. We know that hormones directly affect the brain chemistry that controls emotions and mood. We also know that women are at greater risk of depression at certain times in their lives, such as puberty, during and after pregnancy, and during perimenopause. Some women also have depressive symptoms right before their period.
Depression after childbirth is called postpartum depression. Hormonal changes may trigger symptoms of postpartum depression. When you are pregnant, levels of the female hormones estrogen (ESS-truh-jen) and progesterone (proh-JESS-tur-ohn) increase greatly. In the first 24 hours after childbirth, hormone levels quickly return to normal. Researchers think the big change in hormone levels may lead to depression. This is much like the way smaller hormone changes can affect a woman’s moods before she gets her period.
Levels of thyroid hormones may also drop after giving birth. The thyroid is a small gland in the neck that helps regulate how your body uses and stores energy from food. Low levels of thyroid hormones can cause symptoms of depression. A simple blood test can tell if this condition is causing your symptoms. If so, your doctor can prescribe thyroid medicine.
Other factors may play a role in postpartum depression. You may feel:
•   Tired after delivery
•   Tired from a lack of sleep or broken sleep
•   Overwhelmed with a new baby
•   Doubts about your ability to be a good mother
•   Stress from changes in work and home routines
•   An unrealistic need to be a perfect mom
•   Loss of who you were before having the baby
•   Less attractive
•   A lack of free time

Certain factors may increase your risk of depression during and after pregnancy:
•   A personal history of depression or another mental illness
•   A family history of depression or another mental illness
•   A lack of support from family and friends
•   Anxiety or negative feelings about the pregnancy
•   Problems with a previous pregnancy or birth
•   Marriage or money problems
•   Stressful life events
•   Young age
•   Substance abuse
Women who are depressed during pregnancy have a greater risk of depression after giving birth.
4.  Untreated depression can hurt you and your baby. Some women with depression have a hard time caring for themselves during pregnancy. They may:
•   Eat poorly
•   Not gain enough weight
•   Have trouble sleeping
•   Miss prenatal visits
•   Not follow medical instructions
•   Use harmful substances, like tobacco, alcohol, or illegal drugs
Depression during pregnancy can raise the risk of:
•   Problems during pregnancy or delivery
•   Having a low-birth-weight baby
•   Premature birth
Untreated postpartum depression can affect your ability to parent. You may:
•   Lack energy
•   Have trouble focusing
•   Feel moody
•   Not be able to meet your child’s needs
As a result, you may feel guilty and lose confidence in yourself as a mother. These feelings can make your depression worse.
Researchers believe postpartum depression in a mother can affect her baby. It can cause the baby to have:
•   Delays in language development
•   Problems with mother-child bonding
•   Behavior problems
•   Increased crying
It helps if your partner or another caregiver can help meet the baby’s needs while you are depressed.
All children deserve the chance to have a healthy mom. And all moms deserve the chance to enjoy their life and their children. If you are feeling depressed during pregnancy or after having a baby, don’t suffer alone. Please tell a loved one and call your doctor right away.
5.  PPD is not avoidable. It affects different women for different reasons. Some get PPD Some don't.
6. PPD can last anywhere from a few days to a few years
7. You can callwomenshealth.gov  at 1-800-994-9662
or contact Postpartum Support International
Phone: (805) 967-7636
Internet Address: http://www.postpartum.net
8.  From http://www.pregnancy-info.net/postpartum_psychosis.html
Women with a personal history of psychosis, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia have an increased risk of developing postpartum psychosis. Likewise, women who have a family history of psychosis, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia have a greater chance of developing the disorder. Additionally, women who have had had a past incidence of postpartum psychosis are between 20% and 50% more likely of experiencing it again in a future pregnancy.
9. My personal feeling is that we need to be more open about PPD and post pregnancy depression and make it a more comfortable atmosphere for women to ask for help. We need to stop dismissing women's experiences as "baby blues" and take mother's health post partum more seriously. Also, I would love to see some kind of post partum home care given to mothers if they needed it, like someone to come a few times a week to help with the house hold and child care needs.
10. The two common types of treatment for PPD are:
•   Talk therapy. This involves talking to a therapist, psychologist, or social worker to learn to change how depression makes you think, feel, and act.
•   Medicine. Your doctor can prescribe an antidepressant medicine. These medicines can help relieve symptoms of depression.
These treatment methods can be used alone or together. If you are depressed, your depression can affect your baby. Getting treatment is important for you and your baby. Talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of taking medicine to treat depression when you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
I actually needed 5 days institutionalization, and I was put on an MAOI for about a year and a half. I went to outpatient therapy for a few months after my hospitalization.

All answers (except where I relate personal experience) were taken from http://www.womenshealth.gov/FAQ/depression-pregnancy.cfm
additional resources:   http://MelaniesBattle.org, a website devoted to raising awareness about Post-Partum Psychosis.
Postpartum Depression: MedlinePlus
 http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/postpartumdepression.html

Hope this helped and thanks!
--April  

Postpartum Depression

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April

Expertise

I can answer questions about PPD symptoms, direct people to helpful books and websites about PPD. I can answer questions about what treatments are available for PPD. 1 week after having my twins in 2007, I was hospitalized for severe Postpartum Depression. I spent a total of 5 days in in patient treatment, and was put on antidepressants. It took me 2 years to recover, and I still take it day by day. But I know my first hand experience and my willingness to share my story has helped other women come forward and seek help for their PPD. if you need help, call: 1-800-944-4PPD Helpline provided by Postpartum Support International.

Experience

1 week after having my twins in 2007, I was hospitalized for severe Postpartum Depression. I spent a total of 5 days in in patient treatment, and was put on antidepressants. It took me 2 years to recover, and I still take it day by day. But I know my first hand experience and my willingness to share my story has helped other women come forward and seek help for their PPD. I know that acceptance of PPD and knowledge about its signs and symptoms is very limited in many cultures, including my own. I hope to help other mothers, fathers, and other concerned family members and friends recognize the importance of seeking treatment and help without fear of ridicule or judgment. I am here to lend a sympathetic ear to those who may be suffering from PPD and let them know I too have been there and they will get better!

Education/Credentials
I am a second year graduate student in Medical Anthropology at the University of Memphis. I have a B.S. in Health Services Administration. I am not a doctor, so I cannot diagnose or treat anyone with PPD.

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