Early treatment of
postpartum depression (PPD) is important for you, your
baby, and the rest of your family. The sooner you start, the more quickly you
will recover, and the less your depression will affect your baby. Babies of
depressed mothers can be less attached to their mothers and lag behind
developmentally in behavior and mental ability.1
Because postpartum depression (PPD) may be related to fluctuation of hormones after childbirth, prevention may not be possible. However, several approaches may help guard against the condition. One of the best things to do is learn as much as you can about what to expect physically and psychologically during pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood. This may help you develop realistic expectations for yourself and your baby. Take a childbirth education class. Also, talk to other pregnant women and new...
Counseling for both you and your
partner. Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps you take charge of the way
you think and feel.
Interpersonal counseling is also a good treatment
choice for postpartum depression. (You may find a counselor who offers both
cognitive-behavioral therapy and interpersonal counseling.) Interpersonal counseling focuses on
relationships and the personal changes that come with having a new baby. It
gives you emotional support and helps with problem solving and goal setting.
For your partner, counseling may help with the demands of having a new baby. It
can also help your partner support you.
Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and decide on what
type of treatment is right for you. Counseling and support are considered a
first-line treatment for mild to severe PPD. Women with mild PPD are likely to
benefit from counseling alone. Those with moderate to severe PPD are advised to
combine counseling with antidepressant medicine.
You may also benefit from:
A part-time or full-time mother's helper.
Parent coaching or infantmassage classes, for
strengthening mother-baby attachment.
Your doctor may recommend a licensed counselor who
specializes in treating postpartum depression.
What To Think About
Can I take antidepressant medicine and breast-feed my baby?
Treating your depression is very important for your baby.
Breast-feeding is good for your baby's health and your
baby's bond with you, too. At best, you will be able to treat your depression
and breast-feed your baby. But if you decide to choose
between taking medicine and breast-feeding, treat your depression.
Talk to your doctor and your baby's doctor about your antidepressant
choices. Any antidepressant can get into breast milk, but some antidepressants
do so in such small amounts that they can't be measured in the baby's blood.
Of the SSRIs, sertraline (Zoloft) is
usually the first-choice medicine for breast-feeding mothers. It is most
studied and generally does not seem to affect breast-feeding babies.5