When Do You Need to Talk to Your Doctor About PPD?
Up to 20% of women experience postpartum depression at some point during their recovery process. Postpartum depression symptoms can occur anytime in the first year after giving birth. An imbalance or major increase of hormones causes this form of depression. It is common and it is treatable.
Suicidal or harmful thoughts are a sure sign to call your doctor right away. But there is more to postpartum depression than just having dangerous thoughts about you or your baby. Some of the more subtle signs include: loneliness, disinterest, extreme guilt, anxiety, and sadness. These are all common feelings among women with PPD. If these thoughts and feelings last longer than a couple of weeks, it is time to call your doctor. An OB/GYN is a popular choice to consult about PPD since they know your recent medical history, and are familiar with a variety of PPD cases. But a family doctor is a great pick as well to visit and share some of what’s going on. After an initial visit, your doctor will determine if any medications should be prescribed or if referrals to a psychiatrist or other medical professional are necessary. Some women may experience a “quick fix” with a bit of medication or some therapy, while others may struggle with this depression for a much longer period of time. When my first baby was born, I was a sobbing, blubbery mess for the first two weeks or so. The baby blues were incredibly real for me with my first babe. After that initial sadness, I was busy with a big move and completely preoccupied, which I feel like helped keep some PPD symptoms aside. However, around the time my baby turned six months old was around the time I was completely settled into my new home. I do think I slumped into a bit of a mild depression when everything slowed down. I can’t say I ever got to the point of needing professional help for PPD, but with the small glimpse I did receive, I’m so very grateful mine never escalated into something more serious! A few days after delivering, up until about two weeks postpartum, the baby blues are present to some degree for me. With my second baby, this period didn’t last nearly as long and never reached the level of drama or severity that my first baby’s recovery brought. The baby blues, though startling to some, are not usually cause for concern because they hit every women to some extent. As time goes on and some of these symptoms linger or worsen, that is when you’ll most likely want to seek some professional help.
We’re fortunate to be able to carry, deliver, and raise little babies! Postpartum depression and other symptoms of recovery are incredibly tough to face, but we’re not alone! There is help to be found, others to sympathize, and a sweet baby to snuggle and love.