What is Postpartum Depression and How to Cope with It

Pregnancy is the most stressful time of a woman’s life, regardless of how much they are looking forward to welcoming their new addition to the family. If you are expecting, it will be perfectly normal to have baby blues, but if the symptoms get worse or continue for a few weeks, you might be suffering from postpartum depression. Read on to know more…

Both the postpartum depression and the baby blues share common symptoms and are difficult to differentiate in the start but the postpartum depression has a severe sign and symptoms than the latter.

What is Postpartum Depression and How Can You Cope with It?

Postpartum depression, known also as postnatal depression, is a form of clinical depression that can affect both women and men after childbirth, and it can interfere with the woman’s ability to care for her baby.

Symptoms and Signs of Postpartum Depression

In the beginning, this condition might seem like the baby blues. This is because the two share most of the symptoms such as crying jags, mood swings, irritability, insomnia, and sadness [1].

The difference is that postpartum depression comes with more severe symptoms, such as the inability to take care of the newborn or the tendency to have suicidal thoughts, and they will last longer.

In general, postpartum depression starts soon after the baby is born and will progress gradually in several months. However, it could also start suddenly and some women notice the first signs months after giving birth.

Postpartum Depression Causes and Risk Factors

There are unknown reasons why some women develop this condition after having a baby, but it’s linked to many causes as well as risk factors. Some of the causes include:

Physical and emotional changes which result from childbirth. You might be struggling with physical pain or even the difficulty of getting rid of the extra weight.

Hormonal changes which result from a significant decrease in the levels of progesterone and estrogen hormones [2].

The stress of taking care of a new baby can take a toll on you as well. It is common for new mothers to suffer from sleep deprivation. You might also feel anxious and overwhelmed about your abilities to care properly for your baby.

Risk Factors

It is more likely for some women to develop this condition, and these are some of the factors that could increase your risk:

  • History of serious or severe premenstrual dysphoric disorder
  • Depression in the past
  • Medical problems for your baby or you
  • No support from your family members or friends
  • Relationship problems

How to Cope With Postpartum Depression

Make some time for yourself daily, even if it is just fifteen minutes. Try to do something that gives you a good feeling about yourself. You want to ensure that your basic needs are satisfied. This means sleeping and eating well; the feelings will go away when you feel better.

Ask others for support during your difficult time. You can get help in many ways, from family and friends doing laundry, and cooking meals for therapy.

Get a lot of rest as it can be quite tiring for you to care for a newborn twenty-four hours a day. Moms who are suffering from postpartum clinical conditions are not able to sleep whenever they want, but still, it is important to take rest breaks. Ask for help with child care, chores at home, and errands.

Share feelings with persons who you trust, like a sympathetic friend. You could also join support groups for mothers. You might be surprised to find out that many others are struggling with the same feelings. It would also help if you have a partner who is supportive.

Keep a diary to record thoughts and emotions daily. Let everything out and then monitor your progress once you start to feel better.

You should also pay attention to your outward appearance. Some persons feel better on the inside when they take care of their physical self. Ask your partner/spouse or a good friend to care for your baby while you take relaxing showers. You could also wear makeup when going out and buy new outfits to put on, especially on the difficult days when you need a little boost.

If you are still struggling with your postpartum depression, despite getting support from others and doing self-help activities, you might have to get professional treatment.

This depression will respond to similar treatments like the ones used for regular depression. Proper treatment/therapy and support groups will help you to delight in the real joys of motherhood.


  1. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/postpartum-depression-facts/index.shtml
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4363269/
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