The wonderful feeling of welcoming a new baby can sometimes be overshadowed by a whirlwind of hormones, emotions and lack of sleep. While it’s perfectly normal to have these feelings, sometimes more serious conditions can develop, such as postpartum depression. Mahaska Health Partnership encourages new moms and their loved ones to recognize the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression and seek additional help when needed.
Postpartum depression is a form of depression that develops in some women after having a baby. It can occur anywhere from a few weeks to a year after delivery, but is most common in the first three months after birth. “Many moms experience the baby blues after giving birth, but they usually go away on their own after about a week,” MHP Family Practice and Obstetrics Physician Shawn Richmond, MD, explained. “However, when symptoms persist or continue to worsen, you could be facing a more serious issue.”
Dr. Richmond said that symptoms of postpartum depression are similar to those of regular depression, along with sleep problems, appetite changes, anxiety and frequent mood swings. “If you’re feeling sad, moody, guilty or hopeless and you just can’t shake it, I encourage you to talk with a medical professional. It’s hard enough being a new parent and adjusting to the changes that inevitably come with a new baby; don’t let depression get in the way of enjoying your new little one!”
While the cause of postpartum depression is unclear, the sharp drop of some hormones after childbirth may trigger the illness, along with lack of sleep. “Some moms struggle with their new responsibilities and changing identity after birth,” Dr. Richmond expanded. “If you have suffered from depression in the past, struggled with getting pregnant or had a difficult pregnancy, you may be at higher risk.”
While regular depression is serious, postpartum symptoms can bring additional complications. “It’s very important to address symptoms as quickly as possible,” Dr. Richmond stressed. “Depression can interfere with bonding between mom and baby, which can lead to developmental delays and behavioral issues down the road. Strained relationships between mom and dad can also develop.
“Recognizing these symptoms and seeking help is the most important thing you can do for both yourself and your family,” Dr. Richmond continued. “It’s not something to be embarrassed about; there’s help available. This should be a joyous time in your life, don’t let depression cloud that for you!”
Dr. Shawn Richmond is Family Practice and Obstetrics Physician who practices full time with the MHP Medical Group. He is well known for the care and concern he shows patients during their pregnancy and as a family grows. He treats patients of all ages, truly embodying what it means to be a physician in family practice. Dr. Richmond is now accepting new obstetrical patients. To schedule an appointment, call 641.672.3360.
Mahaska Health Partnership, located in Oskaloosa, is a non-profit health system accredited by the Joint Commission. It is guided by its mission to provide exceptional customer service and health improvement, linking the science of medicine with the humanity of compassionate care. For more information about how Mahaska Health Partnership is making healthcare personal, look us up on the web: mahaskahealth.org.