PND – signs, asking for help and why you aren’t alone
It’s normal to have the ‘baby blues’ during the postpartum period, up to 14 days after giving birth. This is caused by hormonal changes and symptoms may include:
– unexplained crying
– mood changes
However the baby blues are different from postpartum depression. Postpartum depression occurs when symptoms last for more than two weeks & symptoms may include feelings of guilt and worthlessness, and loss of interest in daily activities.
There are three main ‘moods’ associated with pregnancy, if at any point you feel you are struggling with motivation or worry you might harm yourself or you baby – please talk with someone whether its your partner, friend or the POGS team.
At one end of the spectrum is ‘baby blues’, affecting about 80% of new mothers and occurring between the third and tenth day after birth. Symptoms include tearfulness, anxiety, mood fluctuations and irritability. The ‘blues’ will pass with understanding and support.
Postnatal depression, or PND
Most women find adjusting to life with a new baby very difficult, but more than 15% of women and even 10% of men develop PND.
Many women don’t know that PND can occur unexpectedly after delivery and typically blame themselves, their partners or their baby for the way they feel. It is something you shouldn’t be ashamed of, and if you do require help – ask for it.
At the other end of the spectrum is puerperal or postnatal psychosis. This affects 1 in 500 mothers, usually in the first 3-4 weeks after delivery. Postnatal psychosis is a serious condition. There is risk to the life of both mother and baby if the problem is not recognised and treated.
It is important to remember that you are not alone. There are a number of different organisations that can help with postnatal depression including Beyond Blue.
Speak with your doctor if you have depression that lasts longer than two weeks after giving birth, or if you have thoughts of harming your baby. Call POGS on (08) 6270 0123 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org if you need to make an appointment.