What is Peripartum Depression vs Postpartum Depression?

No new mother is immune to the hormone fluctuations that happen within her body during or after pregnancy. Unfortunately, for some new mothers, there are more than just hormone fluctuations to contend with, such as peripartum depression disorder.

Peripartum depression is less commonly talked about than its postpartum depression counterpart. However, despite it not being talked about as much as it should be, the disorder still affects one in seven women who are either pregnant or have just given birth.

In this article, we’re going to discuss everything you need to know about peripartum depression, including its symptoms and treatments.

Read on to learn more.

Peripartum Depression Explained

Peripartum depression is often referred to as postpartum depression, or even the baby blues. However, none of these terms are interchangeable.

When we say the baby blues, we’re talking about the mood swings and negative feelings, such as sadness, that occur in new moms after giving birth. However, having the baby blues is perfectly normal due to the hormone fluctuations happening in a woman’s body as well as the stress and lack of sleep that comes with caring for a newborn.

It’s also important to note that the baby blues goes away after a week or two.

When we say postpartum depression, we’re talking about the severe form of clinical depression that affects new mothers. Postpartum depression can crop up anywhere from three weeks to an entire year after giving birth.

Peripartum depression is also a severe form of clinical depression, and is very closely related to postpartum depression. They’re so closely related that they both affect one in seven mothers (hence all the oversight).

However, there’s a significant difference when it comes to the timeline of peripartum depression.

The criteria for peripartum depression designates that its onset typically begins during pregnancy or immediately after giving birth.

Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

The symptoms of peripartum depression are known to typically manifest between two weeks to about six months post-childbirth. Much like with postpartum depression, there are usually underlying causes, including having a family history of depression, anxiety, or other mood disorders.

However, peripartum can have other causes, including social isolation and poor support as well as the added stress of not only being pregnant, but the stress of taking care of a newborn.

The symptoms of peripartum depression range from the mild to severe in new mothers, and can include:

  • Fatigue or sluggishness
  • Anxiety
  • Disinterest or a a lack of bonding with the baby
  • Thoughts of harming the baby or inflicting self harm
  • Feelings of isolation, guilt, or shame
  • Feelings of inadequacy, hopelessness, or worthlessness

Fortunately, peripartum depression is perfectly treatable via psychotherapy, lifestyle changes, and social support. Antidepressants are also an option. However women who are pregnant or nursing must consult with their doctor regarding the health risks for the baby.

The most important thing for new parents to acknowledge is that peripartum depression as well as postpartum depression are very real possibilities. They’re also biological and medical conditions, so if you or a new mother you know is experiencing the above symptoms, it’s critical that they’re addressed immediately.

We can help with that. Reach out to us today to schedule an appointment for an evaluation or to learn about the other services we offer.

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