Postpartum depression (PPD) is a mental health condition that affects as many as one in seven new mothers. But just because it's common, that doesn't mean it should be viewed as routine. Postpartum depression is a serious medical condition. The symptoms of mood disorders can be hard to recognize as treatable medical problems, but PPD can have a major effect on the whole family, so recognizing when there's a problem and getting treated for it is absolutely critical for new moms.
Like other forms of clinical depression, postpartum depression can have debilitating effects on a person's mental health. According to the Mayo Clinic, postpartum depression can involve severe mood swings, loss of appetite, anxiety and panic attacks, overwhelming fatigue, and reduced interest in activities one used to enjoy.
These aren't feelings anybody ever wants to experience, much less so during the early days of getting to know a brand new baby. PPD can, in some cases, have an impact on early parent-child bonding, and even when it doesn’t, it can make the early stages of parenting stressful and exhausting in ways that go beyond the norm even for new parents.
Postpartum depression is a mental health condition that can have tangible effects on both a mother and her little one, including a higher risk for language delays and behavioral issues. Studies about the impact of PPD on child development aren’t always conclusive about which of their findings are caused by PPD, and which are just associated with it, but in any case, shortening the duration of PPD by seeking treatment is good for the health of parents and children. In some cases, it can also have an impact on parent-child bonding.
When it comes to mood disorders, there can be some stigma around treatment, but treatment for mood disorders is actually both common and generally quite safe. Treatment can lead to less severe symptoms and to a much quicker recovery.
More than that, while some depression medications carry risks, there’s a wide range of treatments available, and healthcare providers can help guide new parents to the safest and most effective treatments for them in particular.