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Thread: Postpartum Depression
March 15th, 2013 08:56 PM #1
An important new study was recently published by the University of Pittsburgh in JAMA-Psychiatry [high-level journal] re-assessing the risks of postpartum depression. Researchers found that fully 14% of all women experience clinical PPD, and 20% have at least transient suicidal thoughts in the first 6 weeks after giving birth. This is far higher than previously thought.
There are definitely risk factors for PPD (some fairly obvious-- lack of social support, young age, financial stress). For women who have a diagnosis of a mood disorder, either depression or bipolar disorder, the risk is very high. Fully 50% of women with BPD experience clinical PPD, and 40% of women with major depression do.
However, I think PPD is just like Down Syndrome. Sure, older women are at much higher risk of having children with DS. But since the majority of babies are born to women <35, the majority of DS babies are also born to women <35, due to sheer numbers. The same is true for postpartum depression-- the majority of cases are in women who have no known risk factors going into pregnancy.
Why am I writing this? I think it's because nameberry, as a happy place focusing on baby names, with sections for sweet stories and photos of adorable babies, reinforces the preexisting notions propogated by the overshare social media culture that motherhood is an absolute breeze, that it's all ups and no downs. I think it's important to normalize negative experiences because that's exactly what they are, normal.
So does anyone have any advice to share on mitigating PPD risk factors or symptoms? If anyone has actually had the diagnosis, would you be willing to share how you recognized it, what prompted you to get help, and how you made things easier for yourself?
I didn't have it. But I tried to make things as easy for myself as possible. Sleeplessness is definitely linked to mood disorders, and nothing is as sleepless as the first month with a new baby. When someone wanted to look after my son so I could nap, I jumped on it, guilt be damned. If someone wanted to give him a bottle of formula so I could rest and not have to feed him every 90min, I accepted. Disposable diapers, definitely. It's about 1/10th of the work and 1/100th of the yuck factor of cloth ones. I let people bring over food, do a load of laundry, put things away in my house even if it was done 'incorrectly.' In short, I relinquished as much control as possible, and in doing do I relinquished a lot of pressure, potential anxiety, and fatigue.Blade, MD
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March 15th, 2013 09:04 PM #3
I did after my stillbirth. But that was expected given the situation. I did a year of therapy and about a year and a half on Zoloft (prescribed by my psych). Both helped tremendously. I know i struggled after Seb was born given our life situation at the time and he was a sweet yet very colicky baby. Feeling great now even with how busy life is, but I know the support system I have is rare. Thank you for posting this, mental health of a new mama is just ad important as her physical health.Married to my love since August 2001
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March 15th, 2013 09:13 PM #5Senior Member
- Join Date
- Jul 2012
- London, England
I'm prepared for PPD, I've been told one in five women with bipolar disorder gets this. I have a bad track record of major depressive episodes (last one just a few months ago), and I've been reading and asking around about this to prepare myself for what very well might come. What we've done is hire a maternity nurse for the first month. She'll basically do all the non fun stuff with Baby, and I can do all the cuddles and cute stuff. We've also got a cleaner who comes to our house three times a week, and that will help a lot too. My boyfriend doesn't have a normal job, he's always around the house, so that's a relief, and my therapist (whom I've been seeing for the past 12 years) is very involved in what's going on. I've also filled our huge freezer with food. I'm a pretty good cook, so having other people who aren't my dad cook for me is usually a let down. So freezer is full of pasta sauces, lasagnas and things like that. I've also made shopping lists at ocado (web grocery shop) so it'll be easy for my boyfriend to do the shopping without bugging me.
I'm interested to see what other people say![FONT=Palatino Linotype][CENTER]My darling Marian Illyria Aphrodite, March 2013 & Little Bunny (a girl!) due 9th of February 2014[/CENTER][/FONT]
March 15th, 2013 09:32 PM #7
I have depression. I've often thought that if I ever have kids I might be more likely to get PPD because of it. I too shall be reading this thread with interest!~Boys~
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March 15th, 2013 09:49 PM #9
I definitely struggled with baby blues. I never had an official diagnosis of PPD.
When Willow was born, I had a very hard time breast feeding. I had nearly daily appointments at the public health clinic with the nurses, and lactation specialists. I planned to breast feed, and it didn't occur to me that it might not work out. I tried different positioning for baby (and me), nipples shields, and pumping. Oh, the pumping.... There was nothing to it! I rented a good quality machine a few days after Willow was born, upon the recommendation of one of the nurses I saw. But even three weeks in, I could pump for an hour, and have less than 1oz of milk. Because she wasn't really gaining weight, they (strictly) wanted me to feed her every 3 hours. I would set my alarm, spend at least 45 minutes trying to wake her up to get her to latch, then at least another hour trying to get her latched on and sucking properly. That was nearly 2 hrs right there. So I was supposed to go back to sleep (and get rest??) in the hour that was left, before getting up again. Hubby did his best to help, but neither of us has family closeby, so it was just us. His are outside of the country, and mine are so far east of here, that they may as well be!
I was crying all the time because I felt like a complete failure. I couldn't even feed my baby! I didn't want to see my friends, who of course wanted to see our new baby! I nearly broke down on the phone with one of my best friends when I told her I wasn't ready for visitors yet. She called back and told my hubby she was coming over anyway. I am so grateful to her. She too struggled with breastfeeding and reassured me that my sanity really was important. She reminded me that my baby would be healthy and well nourished, even if I used formula. So on day 22, I decided to switch to formula, and everything started to turn around.
I had, of course, broken down, into a tearful mess in front of the public health nurses, and they had a ppd assessment questionnaire that they asked me to answer. It's about a dozen questions that they asked me, and they followed up with me several times, including after I switched to formula.
When Veda came along, I planned to try breastfeeding again. The first night, in the hospital, she was on my breast constantly. I'd finally get to put her down after an hour, and then she was crying again within 15/20 minutes, and then we'd go again for another hour or so. I started feeling the old frustration coming back, and I knew I couldn't handle going through that again. Morning rolled around, and I got a nurse to take her for me, so I could shower. I basically switched over to formula after that, with small bouts of letting her latch on for about 3/4 days. This was a much better experience for me, since I hadn't put that pressure on myself. Because of my issues the first time around, the public health nurses did follow up with me on my mental state, for which I was very thankful. I guess I felt like I needed someone to check in on me, even though I knew I was doing better than I had with Willow.
*Just wanted to add in that I had never suffered from depression before (I don't think feeling sad, and completely pathetic after a break-up counts, does it?), but I do have a couple of cousins with bipolar disorder, and a brother (although, he's adopted), who had a bout of depression during university.
Last edited by labmama; March 15th, 2013 at 09:55 PM.