Postpartum depression painfully eclipses the joy and
fulfillment of motherhood. Not every mother faces the depths of a severe case,
but many experience the scary fringes of this affliction. Here we present a bit
What is Peripartum Depression?
You may have heard the word “postpartum” (after childbirth)
but you may not be as familiar with the term “peripartum” which refers to the
time before labor and delivery. Peripartum depression is a condition
acknowledged by doctors and researchers.
A woman may begin to feel the same symptoms of postpartum depression BEFORE
giving birth—symptoms like depression, sadness, anxiety and despair.
A pregnant woman’s hormones spike and dip as her body begins
to prepare for life with a newborn. These changes impact other hormones and
neurotransmitters like serotonin. Plus, overall
discomfort and nighttime baby gymnastics cause sleep deprivation, making—well,
everything—even more challenging. Just know that every woman is different, and postpartum-like
symptoms may show up earlier. Also know that even if your sonograms look great,
amid this physical tumult, you may worry if your baby is healthy. There’s a bit
of “holding your breath until you hold your baby.” Some anxiety is completely
Your First Line of Defense
Against Postpartum Depression: Your OB-GYN
Not every mother is going to have a therapist, but she will
have an OB-GYN. Her first line of
defense is her doctor. Doctors check in
with their patients and ask screening questions to assess a patient’s mental
health. Your doctor’s office is not the place to “tough it out” or downplay
your symptoms. Tell your doctor how you are really feeling, so you can get the
most appropriate care.
As a first line treatment, the American Psychological
Association’s guidelines recommend treating mild depression and anxiety with
psychotherapy (without medication) for breastfeeding women. An antidepressant medication may be
considered for women with moderate or severe depression or anxiety.
Common Postpartum Symptoms
Feelings of sadness or a depressed mood
Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
Changes in appetite, trouble sleeping or loss of
Feelings of worthlessness
Lack of concentration or inability to make
Then there are the symptoms that women have a hard time
opening up about: crying for no reason, feeling guilty about being a bad
mother, thoughts of death and suicide, lack of interest in the baby or fear of
harming the baby.
Be honest with your doctor and/or therapist. They are there for
help and non-judgmental support. This is also much easier when you have a
pediatrician and personal doctors who align with your needs—with conventional
means, holistic methods or a combination.
Special thanks to Diana Shaw, Ed.S, LMHC for her help
with this article. Her practice, Chaos Solutions Counseling, LLC, is a
neighbor to The Salt Room Longwood.
The Salt Room Longwood serves all age groups in the Central
Florida area with a safe, drug-free therapy proven to be effective for
relieving symptoms of many chronic sinus, lung and skin conditions such as
allergies, sinus infections, asthma and eczema. Salt therapy is safe! HEPA/carbon filters and UV light kill 99% of
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session, call 407-862-1163 or visit www.SaltRoomLongwood.com