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Lies You've Been Told About Postpartum Depression

Lies You've Been Told About Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a type of depression that’s surprisingly common and also widely misunderstood. Unfortunately, misunderstandings and myths don’t just affect how people feel about PPD — they can interfere with a woman’s willingness to seek care.

A leading pregnancy care provider in Newburgh, Indiana, Paul W. Morrison, MD, helps moms understand the realities of PPD, providing safe, effective, and compassionate care and support to relieve symptoms and help moms thrive and succeed. In this post, learn eight common PPD myths that could be preventing you from getting the care you need to feel better.

1. PPD makes you harm your baby

Many women worry that if they have postpartum depression, that means they’ll hurt their babies. or they may be afraid that if they seek help, their baby will be taken away from them. Neither is true.

PPD is a type of depression, and like other types of depression, it’s typically associated with feelings of deep sadness, guilt, and anxiety. It may be accompanied by changes in appetite, chronic fatigue, difficulty sleeping, problems with concentration, or moodiness. 

Moms who do harm to their babies may have a severe form of a very serious condition called postpartum psychosis, a rare disorder associated with delusions or auditory and visual hallucinations.

2. PPD is the same as the ‘baby blues’

Many women have periods of anxiety or moodiness during the days and weeks right after birth. These symptoms are often associated with hormonal fluctuations that occur following labor and delivery, along with other changes that occur as your body goes back to “normal.” 

In most cases, symptoms of these “baby blues” clear up within a couple of weeks, once your hormones (and sleep levels) return to normal. If your symptoms persist, it could be PPD.

Emotional mood swings are normal for a few weeks after your baby is born. But if you feel extremely sad, anxious, or indifferent several weeks or months after having a baby, it could be postpartum depression.

3. PPD is very rare

Any type of depression can make you feel isolated and like you’re all alone. But, like major depressive disorder, PPD is surprisingly common. In fact, as many as one in seven women experience PPD and its symptoms. While that fact may not relieve your feelings, it can at least help you understand that you’re not alone — and that, like other women, you can benefit from prompt treatment.

4. PPD resolves on its own

Like major depressive disorder, postpartum depression doesn’t miraculously clear up on its own. It’s a medical condition that requires medical treatment. Most women benefit from a combination of medication and talk therapy to help them manage their moods and “reverse” negative thinking patterns that can be almost impossible to “un-learn” on your own.

5. PPD means you won’t have good parenting skills

PPD is a medical condition that has absolutely no bearing on your parenting skills. This myth may be associated with confusion between PPD and postpartum psychosis, which can interfere with a mom’s ability to successfully bond with her baby (among other symptoms).

6. PPD is preventable

Many moms feel that having PPD is their “fault,” and that if only they had done the “right thing” during pregnancy, they could have avoided developing PPD later. The fact is, there is nothing you can do during pregnancy or prior to pregnancy to prevent postpartum depression. PPD is not your fault. Medical treatment addresses these common misconceptions so you can understand your symptoms and learn real ways to effectively manage them.

7. PPD happens right after birth

While many women develop “baby blues” right after birth (primarily thanks to fluctuating hormones and lack of sleep), PPD may not show up for weeks or even months after delivery. In fact, in one study, nearly 70% of moms didn’t exhibit PPD symptoms until several months after giving birth. Some women may begin to develop PPD symptoms during pregnancy.

8. PPD is easy to spot

PPD symptoms can be subtle initially, and the changes in your mood and behavior may not be obvious to you, especially when you’re busy being a new mom. What’s more, the guilt and anxiety often associated with PPD can make it difficult to identify your symptoms or seek help. 

If you’re experiencing any level of anxiety, sadness, fatigue, or changes in your mood or behavior, it’s important to schedule a visit to discuss those concerns, so you can begin treatment to help you feel better.

Postpartum depression is a real medical condition that requires medical treatment. To learn how we can help, call 812-490-5200 or book an appointment online with the practice of Paul W. Morrison, M.D., today.

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