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What is Postpartum Depression? CBT Kenya
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  • Posted by: cbtkeadmin

What is Postpartum Depression? CBT Kenya

It is a complex mix of emotional, physical and behavioral changes that occur after giving birth. This is attributed to the social, chemical and psychological changes associated with having a baby. As a new mom, you face a lot of challenges getting used to life with a newborn. Probably your also dealing with lack of sleep, new responsibilities or even breast pain if you’re nursing.

Ever heard of the “baby blues?” It’s quite common for new mothers to feel a little sad, worried or fatigued. About 80 percent of mothers have these feelings for a week or two following childbirth. It’s completely normal and usually fades in a few weeks. Postpartum depression is a lot more powerful and lasts longer. It can cause severe mood swings, exhaustion and a sense of hopelessness. The intensity of those feelings can make it difficult to care for your baby or even yourself.

Symptoms and signs of Postpartum Depression

Although it’s normal to feel moody or fatigued after having a baby, postpartum depression goes beyond that. Its symptoms are severe and can interfere with your ability to function. Symptoms are likely to start within a few weeks of delivery. Sometimes, postpartum depression doesn’t surface until months later. Symptoms may let up for a day or two and then return. Without treatment, the depression may continue to worsen.

  • First thing to identify when it comes to looking for signs of postpartum depression is any sort of noticeable change in personality, mood and behavior. These may come and go or they may be chronic and long-lasting.
  • Postpartum depression can  affect a woman’s emotional well being. For example, excessive crying for long periods of time for seemingly no reason. Drastic changes in mood that go from calm to irritable frequently. And easily angered or irritated.
  • Exhibiting intense anxiety, worry and fear that hold her back from performing daily tasks. And expressing feelings of shame, guilt or hopelessness
  • This type of depression not only affects the mother’s emotions but her mental state as well. This include being indecisive and unable to make decisions about things. Thinking she is to blame for however she is feeling and acting. Forgetting things easily and becoming easily distracted.
  • Apart from emotional and mental stress of postpartum depression, women can also experience physical symptoms. Take notice if you hear her complain of any of headaches, loss of energy, stomach pains and muscle aches.

What causes Postpartum Depression?

About half of women who are later diagnosed with this type of depression may have begun experiencing symptoms during pregnancy. So it’s important to seek help early! Getting the right help can make all the difference for you, your baby and your family.

  • —Levels of  and  decrease sharply in the hours after childbirth. These changes may trigger depression in the same way smaller changes in hormone levels trigger mood swings and tension before .
  • History of depression—Women who have had depression at any time before, during or after pregnancy. Also those who are currently being treated for depression have an increased risk of developing postpartum depression.
  • Emotional factors—Feelings of doubt about pregnancy are common. If the pregnancy is not planned or is not wanted, this can affect the way a woman feels about her pregnancy. Even when planned, it can take a long time to adjust to the idea of having a new baby. Parents of babies who are sick or  need to stay in the hospital may feel sad, angry or guilty. These emotions affects a woman’s self-esteem and how she deals with stress.
  • Fatigue—Many women feel very tired after giving birth. It can take weeks for a woman to regain her normal strength and energy. For women who have had their babies by , it may take even longer.
  • Lifestyle factors—Lack of support from others and stressful life events, such as a recent death of a loved one or a family illness can greatly increase the risk of postpartum depression.


With appropriate treatment, postpartum depression symptoms usually improve. In some cases, postpartum depression can continue, becoming chronic depression. It’s important to continue treatment after you begin to feel better. Stopping treatment too early may lead to a relapse.

  • Make healthy lifestyle choices. Physical activity, such as a walk with your baby and other forms of exercise in your daily routine. Try to get adequate rest, eat healthy foods and avoid alcohol/others substances.
  • Don’t pressure yourself to doing everything. Scale back your expectations for the perfect household. Do what you can and leave the rest.
  • Take some time for yourself and get out of the house. You can ask your partner to take care of the baby or arranging for a sitter. Do something you enjoy, such as a hobby or some form of entertainment. You might also schedule some time alone with your partner or friends.
  • Avoid isolation. Talk with your partner, family and friends about how you feel. Ask other mothers about their experiences. Breaking the isolation may help you feel human again.
  • Ask for help. Try to open up to the people close to you and let them know you need help. If someone offers to baby-sit, take them up on it. If you can sleep, take a nap, or maybe you can catch a movie or meet for coffee with friends. You may also benefit from asking  for parental skills that include care giving techniques to improve your baby’s sleep and soothe fussing and crying.

Talk to us

If you suspect that you or someone you love is suffering from postpartum depression it’s important to educate yourself about the different signs. This helps to identify patterns which can be helpful to physicians and mental health professionals when it comes to diagnosing the severity and type of PPD the woman is suffering from.

CBT-Kenya (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy-Kenya) counseling center offers counseling and therapy sessions for persons from all walks of life. We focus on helping clients gain insight into themselves by going through a healing process. Our purpose is to help you to achieve your therapeutic and life goals, to improve the quality of your life and to help you to build strong relationships in your life. Get in touch or book an appointment on +254 739 935 333, +254 756 454 585 or info@cbtkenya.org.

Author: cbtkeadmin
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