Lets go through the postpartum depression symptoms so that you develop better understanding of this disorder.
Postpartum depression is one of the common problems that happen in a woman after delivery. This condition could be recognized by the number of features and symptoms.
The imbalance in the hormones and gonadal steroids are held responsible for the development of postpartum depression. According to another theory, the genetic predisposition has also been found responsible for the development of postpartum depression.
The clinical manifestations and symptoms of postpartum depression are variable and differ from one woman to the other. The common symptoms present in a woman related to postpartum depression include the problems of somatic functions like sleep, appetite and energy.
A woman finds it difficult to get proper sleep and full meals. The other common manifestations of postpartum depression include; weight loss and gastrointestinal upsets. A woman may find it difficult to maintain good marital and sexual relations on behalf of her decreased sexual desire.
Although the above symptoms may not be due to postpartum depression, since they can also be observed during a normal puerperium. However,if these symptoms are presented with aggravation, then they are certainly due to postpartum depression. Like for instance if a woman is still unable to sleep even her baby gets sleep could be due to postpartum depression.
In addition to that, if a woman develops extreme weight loss and she has to be forced in order to eat something, then she might be suffering from postpartum depression. Similarly if due to the lack of energy, a woman remains unable to come out of bed and if she remains unable to provide proper care to her baby due to sleep deprivation, then most probably she is suffering from postpartum depression.
There are some other symptoms which may be seen in postpartum depression. A woman may develop psychological problems, like severe anxiety and panic attacks. She may develop irritability and anger.
Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are more advanced complications of postpartum depression. The mood of a nursing mother swings from high to low frequently. She finds herself inadequate to nourish her baby.
Suicidal attempts or attempts to harm her baby are present in advanced
cases of postpartum depression and are due to psychosis.
In order to evaluate whether a woman is suffering from major postpartum depression or not, a parameter is designed which is called as Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). This is a 10 item questionnaire which assesses the postpartum depression symptoms in a suspected woman.
It provides a score from 0 to 30 and categorizes the depressive illness into mild, moderate and severe. Those women who possess the score of 12 to 13 are considered to have postpartum depression. However; those women, who possess the score of 5 to 9, and do not have suicidal thoughts are re-evaluated after one month in order to find whether they have depression or not.
The EPDS is a significant tool in order to find whether a woman possesses postpartum depression or not. In general, this tool has been found more accurate as compared to the clinical evaluation. According to a research study, the EPDS possesses the accuracy up to 35.4% in the diagnosis of postpartum depression as compared to clinical evaluation, which possesses the accuracy up to 6.3% only.