Having a new child enter the world often comes with a lot of different emotions for parents. While it can be a joyous and celebratory event, many moms begin to experience what some call the “baby blues” within the first few days after giving birth. Postpartum depression (PPD) is often mistaken for “baby blues” initially — but the signs and symptoms of PPD last longer, are usually more intense, and may eventually interfere with your ability to care for your baby while handling other daily tasks. Generally, It can affect a mother’s ability to care for their child while also committing time and energy to care for themselves.
If you are experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression, participating in one of our safe clinical trials at the Lehigh Center for Clinical Research may be right for you. Joining a clinical trial lets you withdraw at any time and comes with concrete benefits like transportation arrangements to our facility, flexible scheduling, and possible accessibility to the things you need, including medication.
What Is Postpartum Depression?
It’s important to note that postpartum depression isn’t a personal flaw of any individual, or simply a weakness that some moms have while others don’t. It’s a common mood disorder and complication from giving birth that millions of mothers encounter every year. If you or someone you know is experiencing postpartum depression, qualified treatment can help manage symptoms and even foster a strong bond with your new baby. Postpartum depression symptoms usually last up to two weeks and often take the form of:
- Unanticipated crying sessions
- Mood swings
- Trouble eating
- Making choices
- Decreased pleasure in previously enjoyable activities
- irritability and anger
- Concerns that you’re not a good mother
Why Do You Get It?
While postpartum depression can happen to any woman, some may have a higher chance of developing it. Women who have previously experienced depression (including prior postpartum depression) or who come from a family with a history of depressive mood disorders are more likely to get postpartum depression.
There are many potential causes to PPD, including:
- Family problems and stress: If your pregnancy was unwanted, or your partner and family don’t have the means to help your baby, you’re more likely to become depressed. They may also be more common among women with financial difficulties, problems with substance or alcohol abuse, or other big sources of stress.
- Hormones: A mother’s hormone levels naturally rise when they become pregnant. After the baby is born, they plummet suddenly back down. This sudden change can trigger depression and anxiety.
- Being very young: Very young new mothers who aren’t prepared and don’t have the support to care for a baby are at an increased risk too.
- Extreme physical and emotional stress: Pregnancies naturally put a lot of changes and stress on a mother’s body. If there are medical complications during pregnancy, or physical and emotional needs that haven’t been addressed after giving birth, it raises the risk for PPD.
How Is Postpartum Depression Diagnosed And Treated?
A certified doctor or psychologist typically diagnoses someone with postpartum depression by evaluating their symptoms. It’s also possible that a patient recognizes those symptoms and seeks an official diagnosis, while other times an attentive partner, friend, or family member might notice symptoms first.
Treatments for postpartum depression may vary, but typically include:
- Better self-care: sleeping well, eating appropriately, physical exercise, meaningful socializing, and taking time to recover)
- Prescribed medicine. If issued by a medical professional, there are prescriptions for mood disorders that are safe to take while breastfeeding.
When You Should See A Doctor
If you’re feeling emotionally overwhelmed and/or depressed after giving birth, you may be hesitant to seek professional care out of embarrassment or even shame. But if you experience any symptoms of postpartum depression, it’s crucial to call your doctor and make an appointment.
It’s especially important to immediately contact your doctor if your symptoms of depression include any of the following:
- Symptoms don’t fade after two weeks
- Symptoms continue to get worse
- It feels impossible or extremely difficult to care for your baby
- Symptoms include thoughts of doing harm to yourself or your baby
Learn More About Postpartum Depression And Clinical Trials at LCCR
At Lehigh Center for Clinical Research, we are dedicated to giving quality care to our participants. Learn more about our ongoing trials and those specific to treating and understanding postpartum depression.
If you think participating in a clinical study is right for you or just want to learn more, contact us today with any questions or concerns. We are always excited to work carefully with you while providing the best care.