Depression after childbirth: symptoms, signs and characteristics

After the birth of the baby, a feeling of depression comes over some women. Postpartum depression is the depressive feeling that can arise a few weeks to months after the birth of the child. What to do with severe depression? What is the hallmark of postpartum depression? What symptoms and complaints are there? What are the causes of depression after the birth of the baby? What measures can a woman take against depression after birth?

What is postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a depression that occurs in some mothers a few weeks to a few months after the birth of the baby. The depressive feelings in the mother begin after the birth of the child. Post = after, partum = birth. We often see that the wrong term is used for depression after birth: postnatal depression.

Postnatal depression versus postpartum

Postnatal depression is a misnomer for the depression some mothers experience after the birth of their baby. Postnatal means after your birth, and that does not refer to the mother but to the child.

First days after birth

Many mothers, and also many fathers, are emotional in the first days after the birth of their child. They can quickly become teary. These are very normal reactions to:

  • The birth of the baby,
  • Processing the birth,
  • Busyness of the first maternity days,
  • Feelings surrounding the new child.

Severe depression

About 2% of all young mothers experience severe depression after the birth of their child. Postpartum depression is severe depression. Severe depression can also develop after experiencing a miscarriage. Women who have had a long and difficult pregnancy and childbirth are at great risk of developing depression. If the fetus also dies during a difficult pregnancy, the blow will be particularly hard. Not only the woman can fall into a serious depression, the future father can also suffer a serious blow!

Confrontation depression after birth

It is amazing that there are women who have given birth to three healthy children with the greatest of ease, without a cent of pain and whistling through life, while the same woman falls into a serious depression after the birth of her fourth child. Postpartum depression can arise after the birth of the first child, but it is quite possible that two children have been born without any problems and that major depression only begins with the birth of the third. It is difficult to say why one woman’s confrontation with depression after the birth of a baby happens with her first child and for another woman only after her third baby.

Characteristic of postpartum depression

The main characteristic of postpartum depression is that the depression in women starts several weeks to several months after the birth of the baby.

Symptoms and complaints postpartum depression

What postpartum complaints are there? What symptoms do women who are depressed show after giving birth to their baby?

  • Anxious feelings,
  • Conflicting feelings towards the new baby, breastfeeding, the father or the family,
  • Disinterest and indifference towards the new baby, breastfeeding, the father or the family,
  • Depressive feelings,
  • Great fatigue,
  • listlessness,
  • Insomnia and sleep problems,
  • Aggressiveness,
  • The feeling of slowly going crazy,
  • The feeling of living in a thick cloud,
  • Afraid of harming herself or her baby,
  • hyperventilation,
  • Absolutely no desire for sex whatsoever.

Hormones after childbirth

It was long thought that an explanation for this depression in women after the birth of their child had to do with the change in the women’s hormone balance. After all, after giving birth, the hormones must return to their natural balance. This explanation is not sufficient, as depression usually begins several weeks to several months after labor and birth.

Causes of depression after childbirth

There may be several reasons why women become deeply depressed after giving birth. Women are at high risk of developing postpartum depression if they:

  • Being in poor physical and mental condition (being exhausted by pregnancy),
  • Have a poorly functioning thyroid gland
  • Have had premenstrual tension syndrome (unpleasant complaints between ovulation and menstruation),
  • Having had a long and difficult pregnancy,
  • Having had a long and difficult birth,
  • Not being able to rest sufficiently during pregnancy,
  • Not having enough iron, having an iron deficiency,

Feelings of guilt

The many symptoms of a woman with postpartum depression create feelings of guilt. Feelings of guilt towards herself and those around her. The woman gets the anxious feeling that she is failing at everything and can no longer do anything right. The worst part is that the woman has the horrible feeling that she will never get rid of the unpleasant signs, symptoms and complaints of this severe depression.
Talking about these terrible feelings is a relief for a woman with postpartum depression, but also very important! Never let a woman with postpartum depression bottle up her depressive feelings!! The father’s support is really needed here! The father must believe that this depression will eventually go away, partly thanks to his help!

Will the depression go away on its own?

Any mother who becomes depressed after giving birth would be wise to make an appointment with the doctor! However, the depression disappears more quickly if the mother:

  • Recognizes and acknowledges complaints,
  • Consciously handles complaints,
  • Discuss complaints with the GP,
  • Discusses complaints with family, friends and associates.

The big advantage is tackling depression

The great advantage that the mother recognizes and recognizes the depressive complaints and takes active action to make these depressive complaints disappear is clear: the new baby deserves to have a mother who enjoys the little wonder of the world. Just like the mother deserves to go through life without depression!

Measures against depression after childbirth

What measures can the woman take against depression after childbirth?

  • Find active distraction: for example, exercise. Exercising a lot in the fresh air is also particularly good for the woman who has recently given birth,
  • Talk to others about your depressive feelings, don’t bottle it up,3
  • Eat a complete and healthy diet full of fresh fruit, raw vegetables, vegetables, oily fish, fiber, mineral water and significantly reduce your consumption of sugar and coffee!
  • Do you suffer from postpartum depression and despite applying the measures described above, you do not notice any changes within a week? Then make an appointment with your doctor!