Between the sleepless nights, crying, and changes to your daily routine, the first few days and weeks after having a baby can be exhausting and challenging. It is not uncommon to experience what your doctor refers to as the "baby blues" after giving birth. The changes in hormone levels can lead to changes in mood and typically these changes go away within a few days after childbirth.
However, there are others who suffer from postpartum depression, which many people confuse with the natural and short-term hormonal fluctuations that occur after childbirth. Here are a few common myths associated with postpartum depression.
Myth 1: Postpartum Depression Occurs Right After Giving Birth
Once again, the baby blues is a common condition that occurs in the first days after childbirth. Postpartum depression, which is often confused with the baby blues and natural hormonal fluctuations after childbirth, can manifest weeks or even months after giving birth. Just like the baby blues, women with postpartum depression can feel irritable or sad. However, with postpartum depression, you might not feel symptoms until the baby is six weeks or even six months old.
Myth 2: Postpartum Depression Means You Are Simply Sad All the Time
One of the primary symptoms associated with postpartum depression is sadness and many women with postpartum depression will cry often or feel hopeless. However, there are several other symptoms of postpartum depression that women do not realize are actually characteristic of the common diagnosis. Here are a few of the most common symptoms associated with postpartum depression:
- Aches and pains you cannot explain
- Trouble with concentration
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping more
- Feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness
- Trouble connecting with the baby
A rare symptom of postpartum depression is a feeling that mothers are so hopeless they are considering self-harm or suicide. If you are a new mother and have thoughts of self-harm or suicide, talk to your doctor right away to seek help.
Myth 3: You Cannot Take Medications Because It Will Harm Your Baby
Finally, if you are diagnosed with postpartum depression, your doctor may recommend an antidepressant, which can help you adjust to your new role as a mother. If you are breastfeeding, you might be hesitant about the impact of antidepressant medications on your newborn. Your doctor can talk with you about the risk and recommend a medication that is safe for both you and your baby.
From the idea that all antidepressants are harmful to a new baby to the notion that postpartum depression occurs right away after childbirth, there are several common misconceptions associated with postpartum depression.
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