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What Causes Postpartum Depression?

Ten to fifteen percent of all women you have children will suffer from postpartum depression. It occurs more commonly after the birth of a first child but can happen after the birth of any child. It usually happens within three months of the birth and can last as long as several months. Some women, less than one half of one percent, may also suffer from the more serious postnatal psychosis, which is so severe it includes hallucinations and often delusions as well.

There are believed to be several reasons for postpartum depression. One is due to thyroid hormone levels that are changed after birth. When these levels of thyroid hormones are too low a person can become moody, irritable, or tired while having difficulty sleeping. Fortunately, a simple blood test can determine if this is the cause of the depression and if so there is medication that can help. Physicians are not clear on why this happens to some women after they give birth but at least they have a solution.

There is some proof that postpartum depression may be triggered by the huge changes in a woman's hormone levels. During the twenty-four hours immediately following childbirth the increased hormone levels a woman has lived with for the previous nine months suddenly and drastically plummet to their normal levels. Nonetheless this is a huge change and some researchers feel that this is the cause of the depression. They think that it is not unlike the changes in a woman's mood if she is a sufferer of PMS.

Other studies go so far as to say that is has nothing to do with hormonal changes at all. They believe that it is the intense life changes that a woman goes thorough that cause the depression. These changes are also fairly swift and researchers feel that many women are unprepared for them. Included in this group are sleep changes. Most women are not prepared for waking up throughout the night to feed their new baby. They are already tired from the delivery and do not get to catch up quickly because they must be up once or twice a night. Many women doubt themselves during this time. There is so much to learn when taking care of a new baby. They must discover how to feed, diaper, burp and clothe their precious bundle and feel overwhelmed by all this new responsibility. Some women feel they are losing their identities. They have taken maternity leave and no longer feel that they are the same person. Now they are the baby's mother and only that. No one needs them anymore for the things they were good at. It is all for the baby. On top of all that they're trying to regain their figure, adjust to new routines and responsibilities in a life that feels like its no longer their own. Whatever the case of postpartum depression its a very problem suffered by many women who need understanding and support to get through it.

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