Do you know the difference between Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression? If not, then you must read this article!
Having a baby is certainly anerve-racking experience, no matter how well you had prepared for it, or how much you adore your little munchkin you will face turmoil each day for sure. New responsibilities, sleeplessness, hormonal changes, pain and lack of time definitely puts all women in an emotional rollercoaster ride. When a new mom always feels at the edge of an emotional outburst, she is going through ‘Baby Blues’.
Lot of people get confused with the two terms – “Baby Blues” and “Postpartum Depression”. Here’s the thing – around 70 – 80% of new moms go through Baby Blues and only 10 to 20 percent of women suffer from Postpartum Depression, which is the advanced stage of baby blues and lasts longer than few weeks.
What is baby blues?
A normal, short lived emotional state that is comprised of perennial sadness, weepy and cranky, irritated and otherwise moody along with self-loathing, self-doubting, isolation and fatigue. This is triggered by the hormonal changes the body goes through after a human is out of the womb.
But surprisingly we hear very little of it. Why? “Actually it’s a stigma for people admitting to the fact that you are feeling low and saddened”, counters Samantha Meltzer-Brody Associate Professor and Director of the Perinatal Psychiatry Program, UNC Center for Women’s Mood Disorders.
Errr? Have they forgotten that you just popped out a baby? You don’t know why the little one starts crying at 2:30 am? You don’t know why its paining while breastfeeding? You don’t know how to bathe your baby or what are the things necessary for her? Infact, you don’t know nothing!!
“There’s societal pressure to feel happy and blissful, so women don’t talk about [the baby blues]. There’s enormous guilt and shame”, says Meltzer Brody.
So, why baby blue does happen?
During pregnancy, the level of hormones estrogen and progesterone rockets sky high, higher than they will ever be in a woman’s entire life. Did you also know, during pregnancy, the hormones make the brain shrink up to 3 – 4%? So, when the baby is born and the placenta is out, the hormones start to drop rapidly.
This neurobiological process causes Baby Blues.
Baby Blues are most common in first moms, who have just faced a phase that’s enormous and exhausting
If this is Baby Blue, What is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum Depression is a mental condition that stays longer than baby blues. Unlike baby blues, PPD is a serious issue and one shouldn’t ignore it. Sometimes it is not easy to distinguish both.
Postpartum Depression at its onset seems similar to baby blues. Both, in fact share the same symptoms – mood swings, insomnia, sadness, no anger management etc.
“The Major Difference – Symptoms are severe and long lasting in PPD, so much so that women actually get suicidal thoughts or become unable to take care of the baby.
The Red Flags or Signs of Postpartum Depression are;
- When you withdraw yourself from your partner; you start avoiding him
- When you don’t feel like bonding or are unable to bond with your infant
- You may have uncontrollable mood swings such as over anxiety, anger or tears
- These thoughts would prevent you from sleeping, even when the baby is asleep
- You will not feel like eating or have very less appetite
- You will feel yourself worthless; you will feel guilty and begin to develop unpleasant thoughts such as death
- You will even wish that you were not alive
What are the Risk Factors for Postpartum Depression?
- Several factors can influence PPD. One of the most significant ones is an account of the disorder in your previous pregnancy, which can increase the chances of getting it back by 30% to 50%.
- A history of depression that’s not related to pregnancy can trigger PPD.
- Genes and family heredity with mood disorders could also be one of the stimuli of PPD.
- Lack of emotional support from husband or family, an abusive marriage, financial crisis or child out of wedlock are some of the other potential risk factors for Postpartum Depression.
- Risks continue to accelerate in women who discontinue medications midway.
Another condition, postpartum psychosis is rare, yet extremely serious, which can develop suddenly within first two weeks after the baby is born. It is characterised by loss in touch with the reality such a hallucinations, delusions, suicidal thoughts, confusion and strange behaviour. It prompts suicide and infanticide. Doctors recommend immediate hospitalization to prevent serious injury to both mother and child.