Giving birth is a gift. It is one of the most fascinating things in life. However, there are rarely talks about the reality of pregnancy. A lot are focusing on giving pregnancy tips, how to have a healthy pregnancy, maintain physical health, etc. But it is also important to talk about the mental health of pregnant mothers.
Some women may feel anxious and stressed with the uncertainty and sensitivity of the nine-month-long pregnancy. It is common for expecting mothers to feel pressure about parenthood and assuring their child’s good health.
Apart from this, soon-to-be mothers face huge changes in their lives. The changes include their relationships and their priorities. Lifestyles need modifications, women’s role in their social relationships change. Some women stop working, while some couple’s dynamics change. These changes can be overwhelming and hard to navigate.
It is estimated that 1 in 5 women develop mental health problems during and after pregnancy. In every 100 pregnant women, there are about 10-15 of them who experience depression and anxiety. These conditions can happen to anyone, but there is an added layer of complexity in the case of pregnancy.
Among the common diagnosed mental health issues associated with pregnancy are postpartum depression, baby blues, postpartum psychosis. But, as a disclaimer, just because it’s unique doesn’t mean it can’t be cured.
To pave the way for appropriate management, we must first attempt to understand the various mental health problems in pregnancy.
Postpartum means after birth and depression is when a person experiences extreme sadness in an overwhelming amount of frequency. Postpartum happens throughout the first year after giving birth. Some symptoms include immense feelings of despair, sadness, and irritability.
This is different and more extreme than baby blues, a more common condition of sudden mood swings immediately after birth. Postpartum can lead to serious consequences if not treated properly and early on.
What are some of the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression? How do you differentiate it from baby blues? Mood swings, feeling out of control, feelings of unworthiness, losing motivation, and everything that seems to be overwhelming, to name a few. It can also manifest in physical symptoms, such as frequent crying, exhaustion, and difficulty sleeping.
If you are interested to know more, check our FAQs below.
What are the causes of postpartum?
Although there are no specific causes for postpartum depression, there are a few physical and emotional reasons that can cause this issue among new mothers—first, the lack of sleep.
Sleep deprivation can cause many emotional and physical issues, and it can also impair your cognitive functions, which is why you must get enough sleep. Next are hormones; the body can drop your estrogen and progesterone levels greatly once you give birth, which can play a role in feeling postpartum depression.
Other causes can be anxiety and self-image, which are both more psychological and emotional.
What is the postpartum period, and how long does it last?
The postpartum period can be categorized into three unique stages. The first stage is the initial or acute phase, usually around six to twelve hours after giving birth to your child. The next stage is called the postpartum period, which can last anywhere around two to six weeks. Lastly, the delayed postpartum period. This stage can last up to 6 months.
How can you prevent postpartum?
The truth is, there is no proven way to prevent postpartum depression. However, there are several ways that you can reduce your risk of developing postpartum depression and protect yourself.
The first thing is to educate yourself. Ensure that you learn and understand things before it even happens to know how to handle things healthily. Make sure that you get enough sleep and that you are eating well. It is also important that you squeeze in a few minutes of exercise to help elevate your moods. Make sure you take care of yourself as well.
How bad is postpartum?
This type of depression can be stronger, and it can also last longer. Based on statistics, postpartum depression can happen after 15% of births for new moms and even moms who have given birth before. It can cause many different problems emotionally, such as severe mood swings, exhaustion, and even a feeling of hopelessness.
This can make it difficult to take care of a baby, and there are cases where it can even lead to the child’s death. So, it is important to make sure that you take care of yourself while taking care of the baby.
What should you not do after giving birth?
You can find many different things about what to do before giving birth, but not much is found about what not to do after giving birth. Since your body has just gone through an extreme experience, it is important to take care of it afterward.
Do not ignore any signs of discomfort. Go straight to your doctor. Make sure that you do not deprive yourself of care or help. Your priority is yourself, so you can take care of your baby.
How do I stay intimate after having a baby?
For many women, sex drives can return after one to three months. So unless your doctor advises you against it, you can go back to getting into it when you feel ready. Make sure that you talk to your partner, and you both know what is going on.
Communication will always be key in any relationship, so you have to talk about it no matter what it is. Sex can change after giving birth, but it is important to talk and figure out what both of you want to happen.
Why does Lochia smell so bad?
The lochia consists of many different things, such as blood, bacteria, urine, and mucus. This is the first stage after giving birth, so do not be alarmed if you feel like you have changes in your vagina. It can have a stale odor like menstrual discharge.
So you have to stay calm and make sure that you ask your doctor what is best to do to give yourself relief. Do not be ashamed to ask for help from your doctor when you need help.
How do you know when Lochia is finished?
The lochia should stop around four to six weeks after giving birth, but it can also be earlier, depending on your body and pregnancy. When it is almost over, when the discharge is mostly white blood cells, you will know which helped your uterus heal after you have given birth. This usually happens during the final stages, which is referred to as the lochia alba.
How can my tummy become flat after delivery?
Belly fat is normal, especially after giving birth, but if you want to have a flat tummy even after delivery well, the best thing to do is exercise. Getting the exercise you need and eating healthy can help you get back to your pre-pregnancy weight and body after only a few months. Make sure that you are taking good care of your body before, during, and after the pregnancy.
What are the three different types of Lochia?
Lochia is normal for any woman who has recently given birth. The lochia goes through three different stages. There are three types of lochia with different stages happening at different times.
For type 1, we start with Rubra, then serosa, and finally alba. Type 2 is rubra followed by serosa and then alba sequenced with prolonged rubra phase and finally short serosa and rubra phases. Type 3 is rubra then serosa or alba then rubra again and serosa/alba sequence again but this time with equal duration.
How soon can you take a bath after having a baby?
Make sure that you do not take a bath after three days of giving birth. Also, make sure that you do not use any essential oils or bubble baths. You can always take a shower to soothe your breasts if needed, but you have to refrain from bathing for at least three days after delivery.
Is it normal for Lochia to turn red again?
Lochia can last up to six weeks or even longer. You do not have to worry, as this is also normal. If your lochia turns back into a darker red shade, then it might be a sign that you need to take a step back and slow down a bit.
However, if you still experience spotting after a few days of relaxation, you need to consult with your doctor or your midwife. You mustn’t ignore these things because this may cause you a lot of harm if you let them slide.
Why do I have white discharge after giving birth?
This white discharge can be the final stage of lochia, which is lochia alba. This usually is a yellowish-white color. This discharge can last up to 6 weeks after birth. It will contain many fewer red blood cells because these are usually the white blood cells that have helped your body heal after the delivery.
How do you pee after giving birth?
You must pee at regular times throughout the day. However, if peeing becomes difficult for you or starts to sting, what you could do is pour warm water over your perineum, or you could also try to pee while in the shower. This will hopefully help soothe the pain and make it easier to pee.
Why do you have to wait 40 days after giving birth?
After you give birth and after your placenta comes out, you have to wait at least three weeks so that you give your body enough time to heal. What happens in your body is your blood cells will naturally close up the wounds that have been left by the placenta.
They do by blood clotting, and your vessels will eventually shrink, but again, this process can take a lot of time, so be patient and let your body heal.
In this article, we learned that pregnancy could also be extremely complex, as beautiful as it is. It is a process where two lives are at stake, both of the baby and the mother. However, as we found out, pregnancy goes way beyond that. As a new life starts, the mother also enters a new life.
These changes can bring forth discomfort and unsettling feelings, not just physically but psychologically as well. With this, expecting mothers can also experience mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression. Although pregnancy makes it more difficult to deal with, these mental health issues are not impossible to cure or handle.
Specifically, we talked about some of the most pressing questions about postpartum depression. We lightly discussed how postpartum progress, the signs and symptoms, risk factors, and how to prevent it. We mentioned how women could remain active, not just physically but also in other aspects, like intimacy. Some of these aspects being the source of mental instability among mothers.
Apart from that, we just touched on a few other questions about postpartum conditions. We talked about lochia, do’s and don’ts after giving birth, like taking a bath, peeing, discharge, etc.
In the general sense, we found out that postpartum can be non-salient as the common baby blues. Postpartum depression can be feelings of unsettledness, anxiety, extreme sadness, and irritability. These symptoms are common postpartum. But it may be more serious if it occurs at intense levels on most days.
Postpartum is a progressive condition if not appropriately attended to. It can affect a woman’s normal functioning, and it can even put the baby’s life in danger.
Although there are still no identified direct causes for postpartum depression, there are ways for prevention. Many of these tips circle on maintaining good physical and mental health, like getting enough sleep, physical exercise, and a balanced diet.
After birth, we also learned that women must also continue to take care of themselves. Women should be knowledgeable and should have strong support to cope with life’s changes after birth.