Many new moms, especially those with a history of mood disorders, fear being diagnosed with postpartum depression, also known as PPD. The condition, however, isn't a character flaw or a weakness. It's simply a side affect from giving birth, which lots of mothers have experienced and overcome. That being said, tere are signs your postpartum depression is actually dangerous, and as a new mom it's important to identify these signs so that you can seek treatment right away.
PPD is not what is commonly referred to as the "baby blues," a mild, brief bout of depression. It is in fact a severe, long-lasting form of depression that comes as a result of giving birth, according to the Mayo Clinic. The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that one in nine women experience depression before, during, or after their pregnancy. The Illinois Department of Public Health, suggested that the number of cases could be even greater. As many as 20 percent of new moms are believed to experience postpartum depression.
The stigma of PPD has kept many depressed mothers from seeking help, which means they may be exhibiting symptoms that can put themselves and their families in danger. Here are some signs that your postpartum depression is actually dangerous and you should seek help.
1. You Have Thoughts Of Suicide
If you're having suicidal thoughts, it's time to call the doctor. According to Postpartum Progress, the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale requires immediate referral to counseling for any mom who answers "yes" to the question that asks, "The thought of harming myself has occurred to me".
This is because suicide is a big concern for women with depression. The journal Archives of Women's Mental Health, reported that 20 percent of women who die after childbirth have committed suicide and is the second leading cause of death in women with PPD. Additionally, five to 14 percent of women with PPD have suicidal thoughts before, during, and after childbirth. Don't brush it off, even if you think it's just fleeting thought.
2. You Perform Acts Of Self-Harm
Some women who have struggled with self-injury as adolescents, may be triggered to reengage in this behavior if they are experience PPD. WebMD defines self-injury (also known as self-harm, self-mutilation, and cutting) as any intentional injury to one's own body typically leaving marks or causing tissue damage. Although there is little research available on postpartum self-injury not related to suicide, mothers with PPD are admitting to engaging in self-mutilation in online discussions. If you are self-harming, you should talk to a professional right away.
3. You Neglect Your Baby
Moms with PPD might find it difficult to bond with and care for their baby. Depressed moms can feel disconnected from the rest of the world which could lead to neglect of the child, and ultimately put the them in danger according to Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia.
4. You Have Brain Fog
Most people dismiss brain fog as "mommy brain," however Postpartum Progress warned that moms who have PPD can start to have a hard time remembering things, thinking of the right words, and multitasking. When you have brain fog, your head is cloudy and this can put you and your baby at risk while driving, cooking, or even going out for a walk.
5. You're Not Eating
If you have PPD, you may notice a change in your appetite, according to WebMD. It's important to talk to your doctor about significant appetite changes, especially in the case of not eating enough. Not maintaining adequate nutrition due to depression can be doubly harmful to women who are breastfeeding.