Experiencing intense emotions during pregnancy or after becoming a parent is common. Some may feel down for a brief period, while others may develop depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. However, a rare but severe condition that can occur after childbirth is postpartum psychosis. Read on to learn about the symptoms to watch for and where to seek help. Take our self-assessment test in the LEIA Health app to gain a better understanding of your well-being.
Signs of postpartum psychosis
Postpartum psychosis is an uncommon yet serious form of psychosis. It typically occurs between two weeks to three months after childbirth.
You may be experiencing psychosis if you have the following symptoms:
Delusions: You perceive reality as altered or different. For example, you might feel pursued or chosen.
Hallucinations: You may hear voices or sounds that no one else does.
Disrupted Thoughts: Your thoughts become disjointed, and maintaining focus becomes difficult.
Mood Swings: You may go from acting normal to saying unusual things and becoming hard to engage with.
Before experiencing psychosis, you might have difficulty sleeping, feel down, or be highly agitated. If you've had postpartum psychosis before or have bipolar disorder, you are at a higher risk.
Seeking care for postpartum psychosis
If you or someone else shows symptoms of postpartum psychosis, seek immediate care at a psychiatric emergency department, a regular emergency department, or contact emergency services.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Some individuals who struggle after childbirth might develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This can result from a traumatic childbirth experience or prior traumatic events. Feeling intense anxiety at the thought of childbirth or reliving the experience through flashbacks and nightmares is common. Seeking help is crucial, as treatment for PTSD can also alleviate feelings of depression.
In cases of depression, you may feel down almost every day for more than two weeks, with persistent low moods.
You may identify with one or more of the following statements:
Difficulty finding joy in things you once enjoyed.
Sleep problems, extreme fatigue, difficulty concentrating.
Feelings of guilt, hopelessness, and worthlessness.
Mood swings, anxiety, intense worry, or panic.
Changes in weight, appetite, or difficulty eating.
Struggling with personal hygiene or taking care of your baby.
Social withdrawal and difficulty spending time with friends and family.
Thoughts of harming yourself or your child.
Symptoms can vary from person to person. If you suspect you have depression, contact a primary care clinic, a maternity clinic, or a child healthcare center.
Source: 1177.se (Swedish Healthcare Guide)