I am struggling after the birth of my baby. How do I know if I have PND?
Postnatal depression (PND) usually starts within one to two months of giving birth but can start during pregnancy and continue after birth, and typically lasts at least two weeks. Symptoms may include:
- Depressed mood: Feeling low, unhappy and tearful for much or all of the time
- Irritability: Often getting irritable or angry with your husband, baby or other children
- Tired: Feeling utterly exhausted and lacking in energy
- Insomnia: Unable to sleep even though you are tired. You may lie awake worrying about things
- Appetite changes: You may lose your appetite or overeat for comfort
- Unable to enjoy anything: You find that you can’t enjoy or be interested in anything, including your baby
- Loss of interest in intimate relationships: There are several reasons why you might lose interest, but postnatal depression can take away any desire
- Negative and guilty thoughts: You might think that you are not a good mother or that your baby doesn’t love you
Anxiety: Most mothers worry about the health of their baby but if you have PND these worrying thoughts can be overwhelming. When you feel anxious you may have some symptoms like racing pulse, thumping heart, breathlessness, and sweating. You may avoid situations and people, including friends and family.
Please seek immediate help if you experience thoughts of suicide, a strong urge to harm yourself, hear voices or difficulty identifying what is real, or thoughts of hurting your child. Depressed mothers often worry that they might harm the baby but it is very rare. In spite of having these feelings at times, most mothers never act on them. If you have strong thoughts of harming your baby or others you should seek immediate medical help and tell someone close to you.
If you are concerned that you have postnatal depression, please see your general physician or a psychiatrist for a detailed assessment and evaluation of your symptoms.
Dr Syeda Monazza Ali, MBBS MRCPych
Lead Attending Physician Women’s Mental Health OPC
Department of Psychiatry, Sidra Medicine