Postpartum depression during COVID-19 – Times of India

Postpartum depression during COVID-19 - Times of India

Being a new mother means going through enormous transitions in life besides undergoing those erratic hormonal changes in the body. At times, fulfilling the expectations of being a doting mother is giving you nightmares and your inability to get proper sleep to recover from birth giving woes are making you susceptible to exhaustion and physical discomfort. For all of these reasons, pregnancy and the postpartum period are considered the most turbulent times in a woman’s life as they are susceptible to mood disorders like depression and anxiety. If such conditions are unchecked for a longer period of time it can end up in severe post-partum depression (PPD). On the top of that, the uncertainty and anxiety prevailed in the society during the COVID-19 global pandemic, is also increasing the level of stress and fear of social isolation in pregnant women and new mothers. Many women are wondering if their feelings are normal, or if they are just the baby blues, or if they may be experiencing true depression or anxiety.

Gynecologists and mental health experts believe that there is a rise in post-partum depression cases in their clinics during the pandemic time. It has also been observed that 1 in 7 women experience post-partum depression and the age-group affected by it is mostly 35 to 40-year-olds. Experts believe that it has increased because there has been home confinement and a lot of stress is involved in managing motherly duties and house chores, where spouse is not helping each other. Usually women are coming up with a lot of complaints about their family not cooperating with them.

Risk factors for postpartum depression

Postpartum depression can be debilitating. If you have any of the risk factors below, talk to your doctor about steps you can take early in your pregnancy to cope with postpartum depression.

  • Previous mental illness or family history of mental illness
  • A stressful life event during pregnancy or soon after birth (job change, moving, divorce, death of a loved one)
  • Traumatic labor and delivery or medical complications of mother or baby
  • Mixed feelings about the pregnancy
  • Isolation or lack of emotional support from family or friends
  • Alcohol or drug abuse problems
  • Medical complications add a level of stress. Stress can put people over the edge, especially in vulnerable populations.

How is postpartum depression different from the “baby blues”?

Many women get confused between postpartum and baby blues. Baby blues are feelings of worry, unhappiness, and fatigue which many women experience after having a baby. Babies require a lot of care, so it’s normal for mothers to be worried about or tired from providing that care. Baby blues include feelings that are somewhat mild, last a week or two, and go away on their own. Doing things like taking a break or a nap and eating well usually help. But postpartum depression is severe. It lasts for a really long period of time if not monitored properly.

Reasons behind a surge in post-partum depression during COVID-19

  • Negative environment because of Covid-19, news bothering continuously from all social media
  • Nuclear family, lack of manpower support, near ones are not able to visit because of pandemic
  • Getting exhausted easily due to household work, professional work, and baby care
  • Lack of adequate sleep
  • Insecurity to opt for medical facilities during any emergency because of covid situation
  • Fear of losing job in these unprecedented times

It’s okay to talk about your mental health with your doctor

Don’t be embarrassed to talk to your healthcare provider about anxiety or depression. It’s ok to ask questions. The world is uncertain right now. Help is everywhere. Anxiety is like a virus and runs around and attaches to whatever it wants. Under normal conditions, women are somewhat socially isolated when they have a baby. They’ve taken time off work or quit their job and are spending more time at home. Isolation is different right now, because everyone is isolated. Many women have anxiety about who to let in the delivery room. For many women, it’s a blessing to have just their partner present. For some they may be disappointed that others can’t be there. But they are forging new ways to feel connected by using technology at the hospital and after they return home.

Dealing with such patients
Patients are usually counselled that it is a normal thing to happen and is due to sudden withdrawal in hormones. If that does not work, they are sent to clinical psychiatrists and if needed, they are given antidepressants for PPD. In fact, the family is also counselled to help the patient overcome it. The other steps include:

  • Providing Emotional support
  • Encouraging work distribution between couples to give both physical and mental rest to mother
  • Adequate sleep
  • Hydration
  • High Protein rich diet
  • Supplement like Iron calcium vitamin D3 protein Multivitamin is needed
  • Assurance regarding easily accessible health care facility at the time of need

-By Dr Sandeep Chadha, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Noida

The views and opinions expressed by the doctors are their independent professional judgment and we do not take any responsibility for the accuracy of their views. This should not be considered as a substitute for physician’s advice. Please consult your treating physician for more details.

.(tagsToTranslate)postpartum period(t)Postpartum Depression(t)New MOther(t)multivitamin(t)motherhood hospital(t)Hypocalcaemia(t)gynaecologist

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