What is Postpartum Depression?
Hi friends! May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month. We often think about having a new baby as being an exciting change in life. While it may be, there are certainly times that it can feel the opposite. This week we are going to discuss the baby blues and postpartum depression (PPD).
The baby blues are common about 2-3 days after childbirth. There are many factors that can cause this including hormonal changes, lack of sleep, and stress. Life can change dramatically after birth—you not only have a new life to care for, but your body has gone through significant changes. You may have pelvic pain, back or hip pain, urinary leakage, constipation, nipple pain, and so much more.
These baby blues can cause you to feel sad, angry, anxious, and upset. They can come and go in the first few days but will typically go away after 1-2 weeks without any treatment.
The baby blues can be more serious and evolve into PPD. PPD can cause intense feelings that can make doing daily tasks, and taking care of your newborn, difficult. PPD can happy anytime in the first year after having a baby but most commonly starts 1-2 weeks after childbirth. It is important to manage or prevent PPD as it can cause other problems like pelvic pain, pain with vaginal penetration (tampon, intercourse, or examination).
If you have a history of depression, you are at a higher risk of PPD. Speak with your providers as they may recommend antidepressants or psychotherapy to help prevent PPD. Exercise is another great way to help decrease the risk of PPD and also has many other health benefits. Be sure to talk with your providers about what kind of exercise is safe for you. Take our Return to Exercise After Baby online course to learn more about safely returning to exercise postpartum.
If you experienced back and pelvic pain in pregnancy you are 3 times more likely to suffer from PPD. Seeing a physical therapist who specializes in pregnancy and the pelvic floor is a great resource to help you lower your risk! Ask you provider for a referral or find a provider near you at www.mypfm.com/find-a-pt.
PPD is often treated with antidepressants and talk therapy. It is important to talk with your healthcare provider if you are experiencing symptoms of PPD.
The postpartum time period can be scary, and often times medical providers switch their attention from you during pregnancy to the baby postpartum. You may feel lost, helpless, or neglected. Be sure to speak up with your providers and advocate for yourself. It is okay to ask for help!
You may be able to find support groups near you at local hospitals, family planning clinics, or community centers. You can also contact the following organizations:
Office on Women’s Health Helpline 1-800-994-9662
National Institute of Mental Health 1-866-615-6464 www.mimh.nih.gov
National Alliance on Mental Illness 1-800-950-6264 www.nami.org
Eunice Kennefy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development 1-800-370-2941 www.nichd.nih.gov
To learn more about the postpartum recovery check out these great resources:
Watch our YouTube playlist on Postpartum and Your Pelvic Floor
Watch Netflix for Your Pelvic Floor at Pelvic Flicks
Learn more about your pelvic floor on our Instagram
Visit our Amazon store for our favorite pelvic health products
Sign up for our email newsletter
For providers, check out our online courses to help your clients. Consider joining our Ambassador Program and most of our courses are included with your membership!
The Role of PT for the 4th Trimester & Beyond with Marcy Crouch, PT, DPT, WCS
Prep H: Hemorrhoids in Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period with Lacey Forsyth, BA (Hons), MA, MPT
Breastfeeding and Physical Therapy: Supporting Women to Meet Their Breastfeeding Goals with Dr. Ann Croghan, PT, DPT, CLC
Early Cesarean Rehabilitation with Dr. Ann Croghan, PT, DPT
Breastfeeding and PT: What to do about Nipple Pain? with Dr. Ann Croghan, PT, DPT
Written by Emily Reul, PT, DPT
Postpartum depression. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. December 2021. https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/postpartum-depression Accessed May 12, 2022.