What Are The Signs?

Postnatal depression (PND) is an illness that women can suffer from after having a baby. It can be very debilitating. Its symptoms include feelings of severe depression and doom, problems bonding with the new baby and even suicide in the worst cases.

New mum with PND

About 10 to 15 per cent of new mothers suffer with the condition and it usually develops within the first month of a new baby being born. This can be a very miserable time for a new mother and can cause a huge amount of psychological stress if this is not addressed and diagnosed early. Here are the five main symptoms of postnatal depression so you can spot and treat it as early as possible.

Lack of appetite

Many PND sufferers lose their appetite early in their illness and find it very hard to take any interest in food. This can be dangerous as new mums need all the nutrition they can get, especially if they are breastfeeding and could be lacking in many nutrients such as iron and zinc, which the body will need to replace.

Feeling tearful

Feeling upset or crying for no apparent reason can happen to many mothers who are suffering from PND. It is one of the most common symptoms and is shared with many who suffer from other forms of depression. Feeling tearful can strike at a moment's notice and new mothers can find it very difficult to pinpoint a reason for their sudden feelings of upset.

Feelings of anxiety

During PND, even the calmest of women sometimes experience feelings of anxiety (which can be likened to a panic attack) and they can even experience physical symptoms, such as shaking and tightness in the chest area. A feeling of doom or that something is terribly wrong can make the sufferer upset, scared and worried when in reality everything is absolutely fine.

Irritability

This is one of the symptoms that can be hardest for a family to deal with. Mums who are suffering from PND can become angry and argumentative with their partner and children, shouting at them and becoming frustrated with their presence. This behaviour, although no fault of the mother, can irreparably damage relationships, especially with their partner, and treatment should be sought as early as possible.

Feeling guilty or lonely

Some new mums feel as though they are completely alone in the world with no help or support. While this may be the case for some, most mums will have a big support network of family and friends, yet still be unable to shake off the feeling that they are completely alone. Others can feel overwhelmingly guilty towards their children or partner even though there is nothing to be guilty about. Many mums feel as though their presence is unjustified and that it would be better if they weren’t around. These are all irrational thoughts brought on by this illness, and they can be helped by seeking advice from your GP.

More on depression

How to spot post natal depression
The battle against depression
Are you depressed? Know the signs

Tags: postpartum depression

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