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What Is Postpartum Depression

By Mosh
Treat Mental Health
6 min read
Medically reviewed by:

Key Takeaways

Peripartum depression, known previously as postpartum depression can occur during pregnancy or after giving birth and can impact anyone. Being aware of the symptoms can help you to be look out for peripartum depression in yourself or loved ones. Symptoms can be alleviated through staying connected with loved ones, regular exercise and accessing professional help which may connect you with counselling or prescribe medication. To address any concerns that you may have, it is advisable to consult with a  mental health professional to receive proper advice and treatment depending on your specific situation.

Mental health is a complex topic, especially regarding questions like ‘What is postpartum depression?’ Conditions like depression and anxiety can greatly impact our lives in different ways, especially without adequate support and medical guidance.

The good news is that many mental health concerns today are treatable, especially for conditions such as postpartum or peripartum depression.

If you believe you or someone close to you may be experiencing mental health issues, Mosh is more than ready to help you discover ways of safely and medically addressing such concerns. Here is some basic information you will want to know about postpartum or peripartum depression.

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What is postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression is the former name of peripartum depression, which affects pregnant people and mothers of newborn babies.[1] Peripartum depression can occur during pregnancy or after giving birth, hence the change of its name for a more accurate description of the mental health concern.

Due to the associated risks of peripartum depression potentially affecting both mother and child, it is considered a serious health issue.

Thankfully, peripartum depression is treatable with the appropriate medical guidance and support. Understanding what we are experiencing goes a long way towards understanding how we respond to mental health concerns. To that end, Mosh aims to help with these matters by medically guiding you to answers regarding questions like ‘What is postpartum depression?’ ‘What is anxiety in psychology?’ or ‘What is high functioning anxiety?’

What are the symptoms of postpartum depression?

Because of the complex answer to the question, ‘What is postpartum depression?’ it is possible that only some and not all of the following symptoms may be present:

  • Changes in one’s appetite
  • Problems with sleep
  • Persistent fatigue or lack of energy
  • General persisting sadness or lack of interest
  • Loss of interest or enjoyment in personal hobbies or activities
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Difficulty focusing or making decisions
  • Sudden or unexpected bouts of crying
  • Lack of interest or heightened anxiety regarding the baby or parenting
  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
  • Thoughts of harm towards the baby

It is important to get help immediately should several of these symptoms manifest – when it comes to peripartum or postpartum psychology, being cautious in excess is safer than the alternative. If you believe that you or someone you know is at risk of peripartum depression, please seek medical help immediately.

At Mosh, we want to help you in answering ‘What is postpartum depression?’ so we have a brief questionnaire you can submit for assessment. Once we have received your form, an Australian doctor will review it and consult with you through call, video conference, or even text.

How can I help a woman who has postpartum depression?

There are several ways to manage the symptoms of peripartum depression while transitioning into a doctor-supervised treatment for mental health concerns. Below are a few examples that can be safely performed from home.

Stay connected with loved ones

When learning about ‘what is postpartum depression’, one of its common symptoms is a persistent sense of sadness. This symptom can be exacerbated by perceived loneliness. Staying connected with loved ones, friends, and other individuals that we trust within our social circle can do wonders for our mental health.

If you know of or suspect that a new mother may be experiencing peripartum depression, support them by reassuring them that depression after birth happens to many women.[2] Emotional and physical support can be critical in these times. Even small gestures like helping them care for their newborn baby or babysitting for a few hours to let them rest can greatly help.

Keep active with exercise

If you have wondered if the question ‘How does exercise improve mental health?’ also applies to expecting and new mothers, you will be glad to know that it does.

Exercise has historically been observed to improve both mental and physical health, including the health of pregnant individuals and new mothers.[3] Staying active and exercising regularly during and after pregnancy is encouraged, as long as one adheres to one’s doctor’s advice.[4] Always consult with your doctor first before embarking on a new exercise for your and your baby’s safety, especially if you have had a difficult birth.

Minimise social media exposure

Social media can have a negative effect on mental health, such as when an individual engages with negatively-framed social media content.[5] Consuming such content has been observed to have a numbing effect on many individuals, especially those who already feel vulnerable.

When it comes to questions like ‘How does social media affect mental health?’ a common suggestion is to take a break from social media and decompress or disengage from such content until one feels less vulnerable.

Are there treatments for postpartum depression?

In response to the question, ‘What is postpartum depression?’ medically backed research on how to help depression has found that such mental health concerns can be treated safely and with consideration for individual needs.

Below are a few of the possible treatments your Mosh doctor may suggest for treating peripartum depression if they deem them necessary for your situation.

Counselling

Counselling, or talk therapy, focuses on understanding feelings, emotions, and similar aspects of mental health through conversations. In some instances, family members may be invited to join in counselling, or a patient may be suggested group counselling as part of their therapy.

In natal-oriented mental health, counselling is associated with positive effects, especially in providing support to new mothers.[6]

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is the broader field of mental health treatment that may include talk counselling, as well as other forms such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). CBT, for example, aims to help a patient recognise disruptive or negative patterns of thinking and guide them towards changing these thinking behaviours.[7]

Psychotherapy may offer a more tailored approach to answering ‘What is postpartum depression?’ and may be suggested to you by your Mosh doctor as needed.

Prescription medication

It is important to recognise that there is no shame in accepting medication-based treatments, especially for new mothers.

In some cases, prescription medication or over-the-counter aids may be necessary for treating peripartum or postnatal depression. Your Mosh doctor may prescribe you a medication schedule as necessary. 

All doctors who are part of the Mosh team are licenced with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), the national regulatory agency for registered health practitioners. All advice or guidance provided by our doctors is based on medically backed research and experience.

Thanks to a growing understanding of what causes stress, how to relieve anxiety, and mental health in general, peripartum depression can now be treated in many more ways than before.

Your and your baby’s mental health are worth the help. Let us at Mosh help you find the answers to ‘What is postpartum depression?’ and how to address it.


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