Postnatal depression can happen to anyone
It is normal for all mothers to feel anxious, tired, or down at different times when they have a new baby, especially in the early weeks.
Taking a new baby home is very exciting but can be daunting. All babies cry, have unsettled periods and wake up in the middle of the night.
About 80% of women experience some form of baby blues in the first week or so after having a baby. You may feel teary, anxious, have mood swings, or feel you are not coping. This typically lasts a few days and does not need any treatment.
However, if, after a few days you feel you are still not coping, then you may be one of the 10%-20% of mothers who experience postnatal depression.
Symptoms of postnatal depression
Post-natal depression can start at any time in the year after having a baby. Usually it starts in the first six weeks, but it can start later. There are a number of different symptoms and it may be hard to tell if this is “just being a mother” or something which requires treatment. Symptoms can include:
- Anxiety—tension, shakiness, feeling unreal, panic attacks.
- Appetite disturbance—not feeling hungry, or eating too much.
- Change in mood—this may vary through the day from quite good to awful.
- Exhaustion and/or overactivity.
- Fear of being alone or fear of being with others.
- Feeling life is meaningless.
- Loss of sexual interest.
- Low self-esteem and loss of confidence; feeling guilty and inadequate.
- Memory and concentration problems.
- Obsessive, negative or morbid thoughts; fears of harming yourself or your baby.
- Sleep problems not related to baby’s need, for example being unable to get back to sleep after feeding or sleeping too much.
- Tearfulness and/or irritability.
What to do about postnatal depression
Postnatal depression varies in severity. About 50% of women will tend to take medication; others get better with extra practical support and counselling.
If you are a patient of ours, please call us on 08 8272 7755 if you or your partner are worried about the development of postnatal depression. Treatments are very effective and we can organise help for you very quickly.
PANDA is the Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia They have a large amount of useful and reliable information available on their website including some excellent downloadable fact sheets.
Beyond Blue is an Australian government initiative to increase awareness of and assist people who are suffering from depression.
If you are a patient of ours and are feeling overwhelmed with motherhood, please call our rooms on 08 8272 7755 and we will help you!