Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Depression Video Janelle: I didn’t know much about postpartum depression prior to giving birth; it just wasn’t something that was discussed I definitely didn’t want anyone to know, and I don’t think I even talked to my family much about it

I think my mother only found out recently that I had even gone through, you know, real postpartum It was just not something we talked about And even once I told my mom, she’s like “you know I had something like that when I had you,” but I don’t remember We’ve never talked about it before, until recently Narrator: Postpartum depression is a mood disorder that can affect women shortly before or soon after childbirth

Any woman, regardless of her race, age, social, economic, or educational background, can be impacted by this condition Dr Peter Schmidt: Women with postpartum depression present with a persistent change in mood that not only is associated with some disturbance in their life but also a persistent mood that will extend beyond 2 or 3 days and will go beyond 2 weeks, but the range is between 7 and 14 percent of live births So in this country, that works out to be approximately half a million women per year that are at risk for developing postpartum depression Karla Thompson: There’s an overwhelming sense of anxiety as well as sadness, and there’s also the tendency to isolate

And the chance for suicide is much greater in postpartum depression Janelle: In the first 3 weeks or so, I started noticing that I just felt just completely overwhelmed and stressed and, you know, it definitely was not going according to plan You know, I wasn’t sleeping—not that you sleep that much when you have babies anyway—but I was a mess; I was crying you know, I was just, I could not seem to shake that sort of overwhelming feeling that I had I think I always worried about something happening to my babies or me, you know I think it was constantly in my head, then like I couldn’t relax

I was just very wound up and, you know, constantly checking on them I was probably overdoing it in hindsight Dr Gioia Guerrieri: Eighty percent of women experience the baby blues Transient anxiety, worry about am I a good enough mom, am I going to be able to do this, am I going to be able to resume my normal activities; those symptoms go away within the first few weeks of delivering a baby

Postpartum depression may seem like it starts out that way, but the ruminations, the obsessions, checking locks sometimes, going to the crib and making sure the baby is safe all the time, not being able to sleep, feeling disconnected from her baby or her husband or her family, becomes very problematic She’s unable to function, and those symptoms become daily and intrusive and are present within a month of delivering a baby Narrator: In rare instances, a woman may develop postpartum psychosis, a severe condition occurring in one in one thousand births Women suffering from postpartum psychosis require immediate treatment by a health care professional Dr

Pedro Martinez: Postpartum psychosis is very acute; it’s very dangerous, obviously, because a mother loses the ability to be rational during that time So in postpartum psychosis, you will get a distortion of reality that is so severe that could actually impair your ability to tell what’s real and what’s not Postpartum depression you continue to have a sense of reality, and you continue to realize what’s happening around you, but there is, you know, you’re impaired because of the sadness, because of the anxiety, but not necessarily by thoughts of psychosis and, you know, delusions and hallucinations that women with postpartum psychosis will experience Janelle: We had a home that had at that time it had like a landing upstairs, and I was sitting there and I was in a recliner nursing the babies one night; it must have been like midnight, 1 o'clock in the morning, and I remember thinking, you know, if we just like all of us just fell over here right then, like it was one of those things like, you know, but then I kept nursing and I just sort of went on about my night or whatever But I think that was one of those things I was like, okay, I’m really sort of flipping out here

My husband and I definitely talked about sort of it was time to do something to try to help me, and he was sort of like you know, go get some drugs if you need it You know, he was like whatever you need, you know, get it or whatever and then heard about this program at NIH which appealed to me I learned about the NIH Treatment Study via the Internet research that we were doing Dr Martinez: Postpartum depression can be treated by psychotherapy; it can be treated by medication

Individual therapy or group therapy can be very helpful to a woman with postpartum depression It’s important for women to seek out help from a health care professional because that health care professional is usually aware of other resources that they can use and that individual will be more prepared to either intervene immediately with a medication or to recommend other approaches to treatment Janelle: I would like other moms to know that it’s okay, you know, its normal if you do have it; it’s treatable and that to be active and to seek help and, you know, not just sort of sit back and think that you can heal yourself over time and that sort of thing because I do feel like if I had not sought treatment, it’s something that would of sort of festered over time and become more difficult to manage If we talk about our experiences, if we’re open about our experiences, then that sort of, you know, takes this mask off where other women feel comfortable knowing that this is okay, other women have gone through this and they’re okay on the other end; but we need to engage in that conversation and continue that

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