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Pregnancy & Birth

Postpartum

The period after birth for the female body to return to its pre-pregnancy state is called the "postpartum period" and "puerperium period".
This period lasts an average of 6 weeks and reflects the 40-day period. During pregnancy, all body systems of the woman have undergone a significant change in order to meet the needs of the future baby. In this 6-week period, while the body mostly regains its shape, this period may be longer in some systems.
After the vaginal delivery, the mother is discharged from the hospital and is allowed to drive, do housework and other daily activities and take care of her baby.
If you have had a cesarean delivery, it is better to rest until you feel better for a few days after discharge.

Postpartum depression

Some mothers may feel depressed, anxious and sad 2-3 days after birth. Sometimes they may even feel anger towards their new baby, spouse or other children. Same time; crying for no reason, drowsiness, nutritional irregularities and difficulty making decisions may accompany. Another very important concern is the insecurity that they will be successful in caring for the baby. This condition, called postpartum temporary depression, may last for a few days after birth or extend to a few weeks, and no treatment is needed.
But if it lasts longer, it should be evaluated for postpartum depression.
In postpartum depression, there is a deep feeling of sadness, anxiety, hopelessness, and helplessness, and these feelings are such lenght that the mother is distracted from daily life and stops her self-care. Although it usually begins in the first year after birth, it is most common a few weeks after birth.
Numerous interrelated factors are responsible for postpartum depression;

Sudden hormonal change
Just a few hours after birth, pregnancy hormones begin to decline rapidly. This change is similar to the sudden hormonal change that causes emotional fluctuations in the premenstrual period, and makes a much more violent fluctuation.

Previous history of depression
A woman who has experienced depression at any point in her life is much more likely to have postpartum depression. In fact, the most important warning of psychiatrists in a treated depression at any time is that it can resurface after birth. Likewise, a expectant mother who has has depression during pregnancy and is under treatment should definitely be under the control of a specialist, as postpartum depression may become worse.

Emotional factors
Uncertainty and concerns about pregnancy are very common. Feelings about the unborn baby can be much more complex, especially in unplanned or unwanted pregnancies. Even in planned pregnancies, it may take a long time to get used to the idea that a new individual will join our life. In the parents of babies born with a medical condition, these concerns may also be accompanied by feelings of sadness, anger and guilt. All these emotions can lead to problems with the new mother's self-confidence and stress management.

Fatigue
Most women feel quite tired and exhausted after childbirth. It may take weeks to recover its energy and strength. This period may be longer in cesarean births. Also, when insomnia is added to this with the new baby, exhaustion and tiredness become inevitable.

Life style
Factors such as lack of support from relatives, other accompanying bad life events and pain, stress, moving to a new place can contribute to depression.
If you or your relatives suspect postpartum depression, you should consult a specialist immediately and do so without waiting for your postpartum checkup time.
Psychotherapy is used along with medications in the treatment of postpartum depression. Antidepressant medications work by balancing chemicals in the mood-controlling centers in the brain. It is very diverse and is sometimes used in combination. It may take several weeks for their effects to start. Side effects are rare and temporary. If you feel worse or feel self-harming, a health institution should be consulted immediately.
The most important point in treatment is the possibility of these drugs passing into breast milk and harming the baby. These drugs pass into breast milk in very small amounts. According to the risk-benefit ratio, your doctor will evaluate your suitability for the drug. Sometimes not taking it can cause more harm not only to you but also to your baby. If the final decision is deemed appropriate by your psychiatrist and obstetrician on the basis of risk-benefit calculation, the most appropriate medication is to be started for you. During breastfeeding, medications should accompany the treatment in the form of psychotherapy, individual, family or group therapy.
If you have had depression at any time in your life or are still taking medication, you should definitely inform your drone at your first pregnancy examination if you have not been able to go to the pre-pregnancy examination. You should know that there are also antidepressants that can be used during pregnancy and that you should not stop taking the medications suddenly even if you are pregnant without consulting your doctor.

  • Op.Dr. Zeynep Taşargöl
    Obstetrics and Gynecology Specialist

    You can send me your questions and comments about Postpartum via this field. The answers provided are advisory. You need to be examined by your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.