Posted by: brambledoula | September 10, 2007

2nd Most Common Request

I get more hits per day than nearly every thing else on my prenatal depression article. I wanted to revisit this subject and post a site I came across that has SO much information on prenatal depression that I’ve only just began to tap it’s resources.

I think this topic is so very important and so rarely discussed that it needs to be brought to the forefront of my discussions far more than once.

I’d also like to note that personally, I think a lot of my depression comes just from being tired and feeling depressed that I just can’t keep up as well as I can unpregnant. I think it’s one of the reasons I knit so much is I feel like I’m accomplishing something. I felt so validated just by finishing my yarn today that it completely lifted me out of any funk I’ve been in.  Spinning is something thats active and takes focus but can be done without expending a whole ton of energy, the kids find it fascinating, and you get to make something else out of it when you’re done. Love it.

So, pregnant, feeling depressed? Find a hobby! If that doesn’t help, it’s time to seek help. Find a friend, find a doctor, find a midwife, find a religious figure, find a counselor, whatever you have to do.

Here is a checklist I sometimes hand out to my post partum clients on signs of post partum depression; I think this just as easily could fit signs of prenatal depression as well. Write it down, hand it to your partner or a good friend and ask them to help you look for signs. This is one place where the responsibility shouldn’t have to be all on you, you’ve got enough to deal with!

Risk Factors

I am more at risk for post partum depression and psychosis…

If I have suffered from depression before

If I have a family history of depression

If I have had other hormonal problems, such as PMS or PMDD

If I’m taking certain medications

If I had a difficult pregnancy or birth

If my pregnancy was unplanned

If my partner is away from home a great deal

If I’m experiencing marital tension and/or feeling unsupported by my partner

If I am going through a separation or a divorce

If someone close to me is ill or recently died

If I’ve just moved to a new home

If either of my parents died during my childhood or adolescence

If I recently changed jobs, quit, or was fired

If I’m used to spending the majority of my time outside the home

If I have been under a lot of stress

Post partum depression is very real, and also very treatable. Many women suffer unnecessarily because they are embarrassed or uncertain that they have PPD. Keep a copy of this list for yourself, and give one to your husband, mother, father, sister, or your best friend. Help them know how to help you.

Baby Blues

Experienced by 25-50% of women

Severity level: Low

I may not be able to sleep well

I may cry a lot, even about little things

I might experience mood swings

I may seem irritable

I may express that I feel very vulnerable or inadequate

I may not feel like myself anymore

I may start showing signs of baby blues 3-5 days after our baby is born

I should not feel like this for more than a couple weeks and if I do, it may be the sign ofa bigger problem for which I need help

Post partum depression

Experienced by 10-15% of women

Severity Level: Medium to High- seek treatment promptly

I may seem to be tired all the time

I may not be able to sleep well

I may cry a lot, even about little things

I may have trouble remembering things

I may have a hard time concentrating or seem confused

I may express feelings of guilt or inadequacy

I may be very irritable or hostile

I may seem very anxious

I may say that I can’t cope

I may not show much interest in the baby

I may be hyper concerned for the baby

I may worry about harming myself or the baby

I may have headaches or chest pains

I may not care about how I look

I may not want to leave the house

I may not feel like myself anymore

I may stop finding enjoyment in the hobbies or activities I previously loved

I may not want to socialize and may withdraw from friends and loved ones

I may not be interested in sex/intimacy

I may be likely to start showing signs of depression anytime within six to twelve weeks after our baby is born but these signs may also show up anytime in the first year

I may feel like this for more than a year if the depression is not treated

Post partum psychosis

Experienced by .1-.2% of women

Severity Level: High- seek immediate treatment! Possibly life threatening to mother or child/ren

I may seem to be tired all the time

I may not want to eat

I may seem confused

I may have severe mood swings

I may feel hopeless or ashamed

I may talk about suicide, or hurting the baby

I may seem hyperactive or manic

I may talk very quickly or incoherently

I may act very suspicious of others

I may be having delusions and hallucinations or might hear voices (such as that of the baby)

Don’t accept being told to “just snap out of it”. It’s not that easy, and if simple things like getting more sleep, a new hobby, or other distractions aren’t helping, seek more help!


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