• ereul93

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:

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!

Written by Emily Reul, PT, DPT


References

Postpartum depression. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. December 2021. https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/postpartum-depression Accessed May 12, 2022.

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