Bringing your baby home is a joyful time in your life. You’re starting your family, and everything is on track with your life. However, the experience isn’t all rose petals and baby powder like you imagined.
After childbirth, it takes a few weeks for the brain to catch up with the body. During this time, your hormone production is out of whack. As a result of the hormonal changes in your body, you might develop a case of “the baby blues.”
Some new mothers feel sad and mildly depressed when returning from the hospital. They know they should be happy, but they can’t shake the feeling of sadness.
This effect of childbirth is entirely reasonable, and up to 80% of new mothers experience the baby blues. In most cases, this experience lasts for anything from a few days to a few weeks as the hormonal system comes back online.
However, around 20% of new mothers experience a more severe form of the baby blues, known by its medical term “postpartum depression.” PPD can last for up to three months or longer during your recovery. There are several reasons why you might develop PPD symptoms.
Do I Have the Baby Blues or Postpartum Depression (PPD)?
You might be feeling fine one minute and then bust into tears. That’s a classic sign of the baby blues. However, when the depression isn’t clearing after a week, it might signal the start of PPD.
It’s important to note that this is an entirely reasonable experience to feel depressed after childbirth. However, when these feelings linger past the two or three-week mark, it’s time to see a doctor for a diagnosis.
Your doctor will ruin you through a series of questions designed to check you for signs of depression. If you meet the criteria, they will diagnose you with postpartum depression and start testing to identify the best treatment plan for your situation.
Those women who experience symptoms of depression and anxiety before giving birth have a higher risk of falling into postpartum depression. Some of the common indicators of PPD include the following symptoms.
- Anxiety or obsessive behavior
- Irritability, frustration, and feelings of anger or disappointment
- Difficulty falling asleep at night
Many people make the mistake of confusing depression with only sadness symptoms. However, the reality is that depression includes various other symptoms that can consist of disruptions in your mood, such as anger, irritability, and frustration.
Sleep deprivation, and symptoms of insomnia, are common in depressed people. The depression starts a feedback loop where the new mother experiences anxiety about her situation. This anxiety further fuels the depression, forming a vicious circle.
Some researchers at Johns Hopkins Women’s Mood Disorders Center managed to identify epigenetic biomarkers in women. These biomarkers detect the difference in specific gene activity, allowing physicians to predict which women are more likely to develop symptoms of PPD.
Recognizing the Symptoms of Postpartum Psychosis
Postpartum depression is uncommon in new mothers. However, for those who develop the condition, they are at risk of developing PPP (Postpartum Psychosis). This mood disorder only affects around 0.1% of new mothers.
However, PPP can lead to the development of severe depression. The affected individual may also experience hallucinations and delusions that take them away from their standard frame of mind. As a result, these new mothers might start thinking about harming the baby, blaming it for their condition.
New mothers who are dealing with bipolar disorder are 30% more likely to develop symptoms of PPP. Some of the signs of PPP include the following.
- Cognitive impairment and severe feelings of confusion
- Fading in and out of consciousness
- Disorganized speech and behaviors
- Delusions and hallucinations
- Thoughts of harming or blaming the child
Women who are dealing with the onset of PPP require immediate medical intervention. These individuals may be harmful to themselves and their children. It’s rare for PPP to occur in women with no history of psychological illness or disorders.
How do Doctors Treat Postpartum Mood Disorders?
A diagnosis of postpartum mood disorder is a handbrake on what should otherwise be a joyful occasion. However, it’s essential to realize that this, too, will pass.
The most important thing to know about postpartum mood disorders and depression is that it’s a treatable condition. Even the most severe cases of postpartum psychosis will improve and dissipate with the right treatment.
If you do experience prolonged baby blues after birth, then speak to your doctor. Your doctor will take a blood sample to measure your hormone profile and adjust from there. Lithium is the gold-standard medication for treating PPD.
However, sometimes you can recover from the effects of the depression by changing your mindset, diet, and exercise levels.
Preventing the Onset of Postpartum Mood Disorders
Depression can ruin your life and the experience of bringing home your new baby. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. There is plenty of research in the successful treatment of PPD using red light therapy. What are the benefits of red light therapy? Can it help to prevent or cure PPD?
Red light therapy penetrates the cells of your skin and muscle tissues. The light engages with your cells, stimulating energy levels while promoting collagen production in muscles and ligaments.
There are specialized red light devices available from companies like ours (MyElle). Our MyElleVibe red light devices feature design for use as a post-pregnancy therapy device to improve postpartum recovery.
The device features an ergonomic design, allowing for easy insertion into the vaginal canal. The device uses three red light LEDs at the front of the head of the machine. The red light absorbs into the vaginal canal and cervix, hel0ping to reduce inflammation and repair tissues through the promotion of collagen production
The red light also helps to lift hormone production, improving the symptoms of postpartum depression. With a 12-minute session every other day, you’ll experience benefits after your first session with the device. With regular treatment, you can reverse the damage down to the vaginal wall and cervix during delivery, while lifting the symptoms of PPD and preventing PPP.