5 Things Every Woman Should Know About Postpartum Depression

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5 Things Every Woman Should Know About Postpartum Depression

For many women, pregnancy is a euphoric time filled with the hope of bringing a new life into the world, even with the uncomfortable changes their bodies experience. 

And it’s completely natural that, in the week or two post-delivery, some women go through the “baby blues,” a comedown from that euphoria characterized by anxiety, mood swings, and frequent crying spells.

However, about one of every 10 of women post-delivery develops a more severe form of depression called postpartum depression. Left untreated, it can last for months or even years.

At the offices of board-certified anesthesiologist Dr. Michael Kullman, he and the team \treat women diagnosed with postpartum depression in their White Plains and Pleasant Valley, New York, offices. If you’re pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, here are five things you should know about the condition.

Causes and symptoms of postpartum depression

The causes of postpartum depression vary from one woman to the next, but one major contributor is your hormones. 

Following delivery, your body experiences a dramatic drop in the reproductive hormones estrogen and progesterone. In addition, thyroid hormones may also drop sharply, leaving you tired, sluggish, and depressed.

Lack of sleep is another key contributor. As most new parents will tell you, you can expect to spend a number of months feeling sleep-deprived and overwhelmed, and that can make it difficult to deal with even minor problems. And that may make you even more anxious about your ability to care for your new child.

And we shouldn’t leave out your self-image. Your still-heavy body may make you feel less than attractive, and no longer carrying the fetus can leave you wrestling with your sense of identity or the feeling that you've lost control over your life.

Other risk factors include:

  • Personal or family history of depression
  • Having other mental health conditions
  • Complications during pregnancy
  • Lack of a strong social support network
  • Difficulty adjusting emotionally to motherhood

The blues are perfectly normal; after all, you’ve just had a major life experience. However, women with postpartum depression can also experience symptoms of major depression, which aren’t generally seen after childbirth. These symptoms can last for months or even years: 

  • Feeling like you  aren’t bonding with your baby
  • Crying often for no apparent reason
  • Becoming angry and short-tempered
  • Having feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and helplessness 
  • Having thoughts of death, suicide, or hurting another person
  • Having difficulty focusing

If you’re experiencing any of these, you need to seek medical attention.

The following are five things you need to know about postpartum depression:

  1. It isn’t inevitable that you’ll experience symptoms; only one in 10 do.
  2. Symptoms generally start within four weeks of delivery.
  3. You can ease symptoms by practicing self-care, doing small things that you enjoy.
  4. Researchers are investigating medications that will address symptoms, so there’s hope.
  5. There are treatments that can help restore your mood and bond with your baby.

Children of mothers with postpartum depression are more likely to have problems with sleeping and eating, they cry more than usual, and they may show delays in language development, which is another reason you should seek treatment for the condition.

The history and action of ketamine

Ketamine started life as a veterinary anesthetic, then was approved in 1970 for use on humans. Initially it was employed to treat injured soldiers during the Vietnam War, then made its way into operating rooms. In all instances, it proved highly effective.

Eventually, doctors realized the drug also had a powerful effect against mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Ketamine, unlike most antidepressants, affects the brain’s stores of glutamate, which regulates the brain's processing of emotions, thoughts, and the ability to form neural connections. It handles much about how a person learns, remembers, and responds to experiences.

It’s known that depleted glutamate and GABA, the calming neurotransmitter glutamate helps form, can result in mood disorders. Ketamine increases glutamate levels and the number of its receptors, resetting the brain and building new and healthier neural connections.

Most patients experience significant symptom relief after just two infusions.

If you’re suffering from postpartum depression, schedule a consultation with Dr. Kullman to review what you can do to ward it off. Call the office at 914-465-2882, or visit our website for more options.