For my STEAM project I chose the course objective of explaining common disorders during pregnancy and their cause. In order to accomplish this I decided to use the topic of postpartum depression.
After giving birth, many women experience a range of emotions that may include sadness, anxiety, and irritability, known as postpartum depression (PPD). Nearly one in seven women develop and experience PPD. Estrogen and progesterone are two hormones that play a significant role in this development. During pregnancy, these hormones increase significantly, and following the delivery of a child, they decrease rapidly. This hormonal shift can contribute to the onset of PPD. Estrogen helps regulate mood, and low levels of this hormone have been linked to depression. Progesterone also plays a role in mood regulation, and low levels of this hormone have been linked to anxiety.
The risk of experiencing postpartum depression can be increased by having a family history of the condition, especially if it was severe. Physical changes that occur after childbirth, such as a significant drop in estrogen and progesterone hormones, as well as a decrease in thyroid gland hormones, can also contribute to postpartum depression. Emotional issues such as sleep deprivation, feeling overwhelmed, anxiety about caring for a newborn, and a sense of loss of control over one’s life can also play a role in the development of postpartum depression. Postpartum depression symptoms can vary in terms of frequency, intensity, and duration from person to person. While the symptoms may resemble those of depression, they can also involve feeling disconnected from the baby, withdrawing from loved ones, crying more often than usual, feeling angry, worrying about hurting the baby, and feeling guilty about not being a good mom or doubting one’s ability to care for the new child.
It’s important to know that postpartum depression doesn’t simply disappear on its own. In fact, it can surface several days or even months after giving birth. If left untreated, it can have a lasting impact for weeks or even months. Postpartum depression can make it incredibly difficult to make it through the day, and can interfere with a mother’s ability to care for herself and her baby. Fortunately, there are several treatment options available to help manage the symptoms of this condition. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, treatment may include therapy, medication, or support groups. It is important to work with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of treatment for your individual needs. In addition to professional treatment, self-care practices can also be beneficial in managing postpartum depression symptoms. Exercise is a great way to release endorphins, which can help improve your mood. Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises or meditation, can also be helpful in reducing stress and anxiety. Eating a healthy diet that includes foods rich in vitamins and nutrients can also be beneficial for your mental health.
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Postpartum Depression – StatPearls. (2022, October 7). NCBI. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519070/
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