Many expectant and new mothers experience depression. The stress produced while your body is going through the changes that pregnancy brings along makes you more vulnerable to the condition. Age, substance abuse, familial history of depression, and lack of support can contribute to your chance of developing postpartum depression. Those with depression during their pregnancy are also more likely to experience it after their child’s birth.
Visiting Your Gynecologist vs. Your Family Doctor
When you experience what could be symptoms of postpartum depression, you may wonder if you should speak to your primary care physician or see your gynecologist. Especially after the birth of your child and you do not visit your OB/GYN regularly. But physicians who practice obstetrics and gynecology are uniquely qualified to help women throughout their lives with women’s health issues. They also commonly see patients who are dealing with issues of depression during and after pregnancy.
Preparing for Your Visit
Getting what you wish to discuss with your doctor clear in your head and on paper is a good idea. Please discuss this with them when you first begin to experience signs of depression. Research information about postpartum depression, write down any symptoms you have experienced, prior experiences with depression and anxiety, and any questions. Take this list with you to be prepared to discuss these concerns with your OB/GYN.
Ensure you are clear about the severity of your symptoms, any scare thoughts you have, or any of the signs that are particularly worrying to you. Do not be concerned about what your doctor, or others, may think of you. Part of being a good mother is taking care of yourself to be the best parent you can.
Ask your doctor about any medical conditions or physical reasons you may be experiencing your symptoms. This includes running a thyroid function test and doing a complete blood count. Discuss any concerns or questions about antidepressants and other treatments. No questions are silly. It would help if you had all of the pertinent information to make the best decisions for you and your child. Ask for a therapy referral for help getting through this challenging time.
Suppose you don’t feel that the medical professional you are working with is minimizing, making light of, or judging your condition. In that case, it is time to find a new doctor to work with that is more experienced in dealing with postpartum women’s needs.
Breaking Down the Terms
Many women suffer from baby blues after bringing their baby home. Usually marked by mild symptoms that last for up to a few weeks, baby blues usually resolves itself without needing to see a physician. The symptoms include excessive sleeping, loss of appetite, crying, feelings of being overwhelmed, sadness, anxiety, and mood swings.
Along with more extreme versions of Baby Blues symptoms, postpartum depression also includes a lack of interest in your new infant or thinking about harming yourself or your baby. This needs immediate medical attention.
Women who have bipolar disorder or other mental health conditions find themselves in situations such as attempting to harm themselves or their child, severe mood swings, confusion, seeing things that aren’t there.
Listening to the Symptoms and Emergency Cues
Mood swings and other symptoms may feel like standard parts of pregnancy. But if you have been feeling these symptoms for more than two weeks, it’s time to speak to your doctor. Pregnancy can be hard on the body and mind. You may wonder if what you are feeling is just a normal part of pregnancy. Watch for these symptoms:
- Persistent body, head, or stomach pain
- Avoiding loved ones
- You are no longer interested in things that you used to enjoy
- Memory problems
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Not able to focus
- Frequent crying, sadness, hopelessness, or feeling overwhelmed.
- Lack of energy or motivation
- Mood swings, restlessness
- Not bonding with baby.
Southwest OB/GYN Can Help
If you have been excited to meet your newborn and you don’t have the feelings you thought you would have, it may be as simple as the baby blues. But when it extends to postpartum depression or psychosis, these may interfere with your ability to care for your child.
If you have experienced any of the symptoms listed, please contact us to make an appointment with our Houston Ob/GYN practice to speak with a medical professional here at Southwest OB/GYN. We are experienced in helping new mothers through this stage and ensure that you are prepared to take care of their newborn.
We can help you understand your emotional and psychological state throughout your pregnancy. Call us today or send us a message. Find our care team at swobgyn.com/our-doctors. To help you prepare for your first Houston gynecologist visit, please read this article.