Understanding postnatal depression understanding

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Understanding postnatal depression,This booklet explains the possible causes of. postnatal depression PND what signs to look out,for what might help and what support is available. It also includes some information about other,postnatal mental health problems. What is postnatal depression 4,What causes postnatal depression 6. What help is available 9,What can I do to help myself 12.
What about fathers 15,What other mental health disorders can affect 15. you after childbirth,How can friends and family help 18. Useful contacts 20,Understanding postnatal depression. What is postnatal depression, Having a baby is usually thought of as a happy time However as a new. mother you may not necessarily feel this straight away. You may go through a brief period of feeling emotional and tearful. known as the baby blues It usually starts 3 10 days after giving birth. and affects around 85 per cent of new mothers It is so common that it is. considered normal New fathers may also feel it And although having the. baby blues may be distressing it s important to be aware that it doesn t. last long usually only a few days and is generally quite manageable. However around 10 15 per cent of new mothers develop a much deeper. and longer term depression known as postnatal depression PND. It usually develops within six weeks of giving birth and can come on. gradually or all of a sudden It can range from being relatively mild to very. Common signs of postnatal depression, You may experience one or more of the following symptoms However it.
is unlikely that you will go through all of them,How you may feel You may find that you. sad and low lose concentration, tearful for no apparent reason have disturbed sleep. worthless fi,nd it hard to sleep even when, hopeless about the future you have the opportunity. tired have a reduced appetite,unable to cope lack interest in sex. irritable and angry have thoughts about death,h ostile or indifferent to your.
husband or partner,hostile or indifferent to your baby. What is postnatal depression, As babies need care and attention frequently including during the night. it is common to feel tired in the months following the birth of a child And. lack of sleep can make you feel both low and irritable This is normal and. it is important not to confuse this with PND However one indication that. you are going through PND is if you find it hard to sleep even when you re. tired and have the opportunity to do so, My postnatal depression snuck up on me as a dark shadow. every morning waking up and noticing a heaviness and blackness to. my mood The only comforts were private fantasies about ending. it all running away escaping my responsibilities tearing myself to. shreds to try and grasp why I felt so bleak, If you experience thoughts about death or harming yourself or the baby. this can be very frightening and may make you feel as if you are going. mad or completely out of control You may be afraid to tell anyone about. these feelings But it s important to realise that having these thoughts. doesn t mean that you are actually going to harm yourself or your. children However difficult it is the more you can bring these feelings out. into the open and talk about them whether to a family member a friend. or a health professional the less likely you will be to act on them. Diagnosing postnatal depression, Experience of depression or other mental health problems before your.
child is born can put you at greater risk of developing PND see p 6. Health professionals should therefore ask about your wellbeing and. mental health during your pregnancy If you feel depressed while you. are pregnant or later you may also find the Mind booklet Understanding. depression helpful, Postnatal depression is assessed often by health visitors using a. questionnaire called the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale As a new. mother you may be asked to fill this in within the first two months after. the birth to check for early symptoms,Understanding postnatal depression. What causes postnatal depression, There is no known cause for postnatal depression and sometimes it can. start for no obvious reason However some researchers have suggested a. number of possibilities, Some think it is likely to be biological for example changes in your body. including hormonal changes However although some studies show that. changes in the level of hormones during pregnancy and after birth can. trigger changes in mood only some women go on to develop PND so. hormones are unlikely to be the single cause, Others think the cause is linked to past experiences or social circumstances.
Many suggest that a combination of different issues cause PND. Some situations are considered to put you at particular risk of developing. previous mental health problems,lack of support,experience of abuse. low self esteem,poverty and poor living conditions. major life events,Previous mental health problems, If you have experienced a mental health problem in the past including. during pregnancy this may recur after you have given birth It is also. important to be aware that what caused your mental health problem in. the past can also put you at risk of PND, If you experienced PND after the birth of one child you are at increased. risk of developing PND after the birth of your next child However you. may have coped well with you first child and felt depressed after the. second or the other way around,What causes postnatal depression.
Lack of support, Several studies suggest that lack of support from a partner or other family. members can put you at risk of PND You are at particular risk if you are. a single mother especially if you re young recent immigrant refugee or. asylum seeker, Depression during pregnancy needs to be publicised more. because I was never ever asked how I was even when they knew I. was about to be a single parent and aware that I had no support. Experience of abuse, If you experienced emotional physical or sexual abuse while growing up you. may find it hard to relate to others including your baby If your own parents. did not have good parenting skills you may find it hard to adapt to your new. role as a mother For example you may feel unsure how to respond when. your baby is crying You may even fear that you are going to harm your baby. somehow because you are unsure how to take care of them. Domestic violence including verbal emotional and financial abuse can. trigger anxiety depression and lower your self esteem It also puts you at. risk of developing PND, If you experienced abuse as a child or later in life you may also have post. traumatic stress disorder PTSD which can further add to your risk for. postnatal depression For more information see p 16 and Mind s booklet. Understanding post traumatic stress disorder,Low self esteem.
If your self esteem is low you may doubt your ability to cope as a new. mother When your baby cries for example you may think it is because of. something you have done wrong or because of something you haven t done. The way you think about yourself can put you at risk of developing PND See. Minds booklet How to increase your self esteem for more information. Understanding postnatal depression,Poverty and poor living conditions. It can be difficult for anyone to deal with poverty If you face life with a. new baby while living in poor housing and with little money to spend this. adds stress to your life and puts you at risk of developing PND You may. feel that you are unable to provide your baby with everything that he or. she needs and you may feel that you are failing your baby Dealing with. poverty can be particularly difficult if you are also living alone with little or. no support from others,Major life events,Major life events can include. an illness or death in the family,the break up of a relationship. moving house,losing your job,having a baby, Each of these events can add serious stress to your life If you experience. any of these in addition to having a baby this can increase your risk. of getting PND However increased risk does not mean that you will. definitely develop PND, Having a baby is a major life event in itself as it is likely to involve many.
changes in your life You may have had to give up your job and lose your. financial independence You may also have had to give up social activities. and have limited or no opportunities to meet up with your friends Being. responsible for a baby 24 hours a day means that your day is likely to. revolve around your child s needs rather than yours. What help is available,What help is available, I was too scared to tell anyone how I really felt in case they. took my baby away, You may fear that your baby will be taken away if you admit to feeling. depressed anxious or having distressing thoughts for example about. harming yourself or the baby But fear of asking for help may be part of. the problem and you may need encouragement and support in getting it. PND is not only a distressing condition it can also be a disabling one so. the earlier you get help the better If PND is acknowledged and addressed. it is likely to pass sooner and be less severe than if you get no help It is. then also less likely to affect the relationship between you and your baby. I thought I was a bad mother until I told my health visitor how. I was feeling When she named it postnatal depression and got me. the right support it felt like someone had opened the door and let a. glimmer of sunlight in, There are many health professionals who are familiar with these issues. and who can provide you with support in several different ways These. may include your GP midwife health visitor community psychiatric nurse. psychiatrist psychotherapist or counsellor or complementary practitioner. Research suggests that the treatment most new mothers prefer for PND. is a combination of practical support and advice and counselling or. psychotherapy If necessary you may want antidepressants In rare cases. you may be offered electroconvulsive therapy ECT see p 12. Counselling and psychotherapy, Talking treatments such as counselling and psychotherapy can offer you the. opportunity to look at the underlying reasons that have contributed to the. way you feel as well as helping you to change and manage your feelings. Understanding postnatal depression, The NICE National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines.
on antenatal and postnatal care say that healthcare professionals should. before and during pregnancy if possible and after the birth ask specific. questions designed to detect signs of depression and follow this up as. appropriate, Many GPs have a counsellor or psychotherapist attached to their. practice They can also refer you to a psychiatrist or psychologist on the. NHS Various organisations offer talking treatments and some of them. operate a low fee scheme for those who can t afford to pay For more. information see Mind s booklet Making sense of talking treatments. Cognitive behaviour therapy CBT is increasingly popular as a short term. treatment and provides practical ways of dealing with problems see. Mind s booklet Making sense of cognitive behaviour therapy. Talking therapies should be more readily available to you if you are. pregnant or breastfeeding because of the increased risk of using. medicines at these times,Prescription medicine, Your GP can prescribe medication to help you But it s important to discuss. potential benefits and side effects fully before taking any and to keep. monitoring your progress with them, Medication may enter breast milk and if you are breastfeeding you will need. to bear this in mind when deciding whether or not to take it Some drugs. have known effects on infants while others appear to be quite safe so it is. important to discuss this with your doctor If you do decide to try medication. it may be necessary to try different drugs to achieve the best results. Antidepressants, All antidepressants take time to work If you do take them they can be. very effective but you should be prepared to take them for at least six. What help is available, They also all have possible side effects and when you stop taking them.
you should withdraw slowly to avoid possible withdrawal effects which. can be unpleasant, Manufacturers advise that the following antidepressants should be avoided. while breastfeeding doxepin phenelzine isocarboxazid moclobemide. citalopram escitalopram fluoxetine fluvoxamine sertraline duloxetine. venlafaxine flupentixol mirtazapine reboxetine and agomelatine See. Mind s booklet Making sense of antidepressants for more information. Mood stabilisers such as lithium should also be avoided while. breastfeeding,Sleeping pills and tranquillisers, If lack of sleep has become a habit you can t break your GP may consider. prescribing sleeping pills to help you Any sleeping pills should be taken. for brief periods only and preferably not for several nights in a row in. order to avoid becoming dependent on them, They should not be taken if you are breastfeeding because they are. excreted in breast milk and are absorbed by the baby. See Making sense of sleeping pills and minor tranquillisers for more. information,Other drugs, You may also be taking other medication for a mental health problem or. Understanding postnatal depression Poverty and poor living conditions It can be difficult for anyone to deal with poverty If you face life with a new baby while living in poor housing and with little money to spend this adds stress to your life and puts you at risk of developing PND You may

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