Becoming a mother should set off celebrations. Emotions typically run the gamut from exhilaration and delight to panic and distress. Because we’re all wired differently though, many mothers fall victim to depression.
Medical researchers estimate that approximately one in every seven new mothers will experience postpartum depression. In this article, we’ll define postpartum depression, share its symptoms and introduce ways to prevent it.
What is Postpartum Depression?
There’s lots going on in a mother’s body, and postpartum depression appears to be brought on by hormonal changes just after birth. It’s a moderate to severe form of depression that is often mistaken for baby blues, which typically last for a few days to a week at most. Unlike baby blues, postpartum depression is much more intense, and symptoms can take a few weeks or months after birth to appear.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
For mothers who have delivered a baby within the last 12 months, postpartum symptoms can include:
- Feeling overwhelmed and thinking that you can’t handle motherhood
- Not feeling bonded with your baby
- Inability to focus and control feelings
- Feeling “nothing” – just going through the motions of everyday life
- Loss of energy
- Thoughts of death or suicide, and
- Inability to stop crying
Contributing Factors to Postpartum Depression
There are most likely a host of contributors to postpartum depression. For example, the condition is more prevalent in mothers who:
- Are under 20
- Did not plan the pregnancy
- Are experiencing financial strains
- Have a poor relationship with their partner, and
- Had depression or anxiety disorder before conceiving.
How to Prevent Postpartum Depression
Any form of depression is a serious health matter because sufferers often think of harming themselves, and are living within a vicious cycle that continuously repeats itself. Without treatment, postpartum depression can last for months or years.
Here are a few steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing postpartum depression.
Lean on your family and friends. The idea of being a supermom is nice, but is rarely realistic. Even before your baby is born, make sure your support system is in place so they’re nearby when you need their help. You’ll be surprised how much relief you’ll feel by something as simple as someone helping you with the laundry.
Eat with health in mind. You’re not going to have a lot of time for traditional meals, so it’s important to get into the habit of having healthy snacks within easy reach.Some studies suggest a connection between depression and foods high in carbohydrates.
Let’s get physical. There’s no doubt about it, physical exercise is essential to keeping your brain sharp. According to a study done by the Department of Exercise Science at the University of Georgia, even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. Endorphins released by the brain during exercise generate an overall positive feeling.
Can Improving Brainwaves Cure Postpartum Depression?
There’s tremendous power in your brain, and a new approach that leverages electromagnetic pulses is harnessing that power. Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (dTMS), which earned approval from the FDA in 2008 as a treatment for depression, is causing a positive buzz within the medical community. Throughout its clinical trials and usage, dTMS has proven effective in treating other brain-related conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, autism, bipolar disorder, stroke rehabilitation, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
How Does dTMS Work?
Because its noninvasive and requires no sedation, dTMS is performed as an outpatient procedure. It transmits magnetic pulses through a specialized cap worn by the patient to stimulate areas of the brain that aren’t working as well as they should. The cap contains coils that indirectly manipulate regions of the brain by transmitting magnetic pulses at a low frequency of 1-10 kHz, which triggers an electronic field in the underlying brain tissue.
Westside Neurotherapeutics offers dTMS treatments in Los Angeles. For more information, contact them by phone at 310.946.0008 or visit us online at www.westsideneurotherapeutics.com.