What are postpartum challenges and adjustments?

Postpartum means the period following childbirth or the birth of young. There are plenty of stressful times in a "normal" or healthy postpartum adjustment. A mother or father may be overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for a newborn. Having a new baby may be solitary (especially for the mothers and fathers who had babies during the Covid-19 pandemic) and packed with layers of uncertainty. However, a successful postpartum adjustment includes resiliency and joy. Reassurance by means of family and community support can help many women, and by extension, families in this situation to cope and thrive. Perhaps one of the main challenges during the postpartum period is postpartum depression  (PPD). However, most new moms experience postpartum “ baby blues”, which may include mood swings, anxiety, crying spells and difficulty sleeping. However, “baby blues” begin within the first two to three days after delivery and may last for up to two weeks, while postpartum depression is marked by a more severe, long-lasting form of depression. So while postpartum depression can be mistaken for “baby blues” at first, the intensity of the symptoms coupled with the long-lasting lingering of symptoms alerts mothers to the fact that they are experiencing something more serious.

Perinatal Depression(PND) and Postpartum Depression:

Depression is not uncommon before or after the birth of a child. The baby blues, postpartum depression, maternal depression, prenatal depression, postnatal depression, or perinatal depression are all words used to describe depression during this time. Depression can range from mild to moderate or severe.

Depression during pregnancy, within a year after birth, or near the end of a pregnancy is perinatal depression (PND). Depression is one of the most prevalent medical issues during pregnancy and the first year after delivery, affecting around one in every seven women.

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a complicated mix of physical, mental, emotional and behavioural changes that some women experience after having a baby. PPD is a type of severe depression that develops within three to four weeks after giving birth. The intensity of the depression and the amount of time between birth and beginning are considered to diagnose postpartum depression. The biological, social, emotional and psychological changes after having a baby are associated with postpartum depression.

How are postpartum challenges and adjustments treated?

Therapy such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) may be recommended to treat perinatal or postpartum challenges. Treatment generally involves a combination of medication such as antidepressants as well as psychotherapy.

1When does postpartum depression present itself?
PPD can manifest within three to four weeks after giving birth. Still, you may not notice it right away because it's common to feel sad, weary, and out of sorts in the days following the delivery of your baby. It may take a while for a new mother to recognise something more serious is at play. As soon as postpartum depression is discerned, however, it is imperative that the new mother seeks professional help.
2How long does postpartum depression last?
The first 4–6 weeks following birth are known as the postpartum period, and many episodes of PPD begin at this time. However, PPD can last for up to a year following delivery.
3What is the difference between postpartum depression and “Baby Blues”?
When a new mother struggles with the “Baby Blues”, her mood suddenly shifts from joyous to melancholy. A new mother may feel proud of the job she is doing one minute. The next minute, she is crying because she doesn’t think she is capable of completing what she needs to. She feels fatigued and doesn’t feel like eating or taking care of herself. She is irritated, worried, and overloaded. When a new mother struggles with Postpartum Depression, the symptoms are much more intense and stable. The new mother constantly feels hopeless, unhappy, useless, or alone and cries a lot. As a new mother, she doesn't feel like she is doing a good job, ever. The new mother avoids spending enough time with her child, and this evokes feelings of shame and guilt. Because of the tremendous despair experienced, new mothers are unable to eat, sleep, or care for herself and her infant. Anxiety and panic attacks are possible during this time.