Postpartum depression (PPD) is a medical condition that sometimes affects mothers after childbirth. Some moms experience postpartum “baby blues” in the initial days following childbirth. This usually lasts anywhere from two days to two weeks. However, if postpartum baby blues persist beyond a few weeks, the end result is PPD.
Some research indicates that PPD affects up to one in five women after childbirth, and a mom dealing with PPD may experience any of the following symptoms:
- Withdrawal from loved ones
- Frequent crying
- Concerns about harming her baby
- Feeling disconnected from her baby
- Feeling guilty about being unable to take care of her baby
Additionally, a mom dealing with PPD may experience more serious symptoms that are in line with a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), such as:
- Loss of interest in hobbies and/or activities that she previously enjoyed
- Overeating or loss of appetite
- Body aches or pain
- Suicidal thoughts
There are many risks factors associated with PPD. These risk factors include:
- History of depression
- Anxiety prior to childbirth
- Depression during pregnancy
- Low self-esteem
- Inadequate social support from family members and friends
In addition to the aforementioned risk factors, breastfeeding may contribute to PPD as well. Conversely, breastfeeding may help some moms overcome PPD.
Breastfeeding and Postpartum Depression: What You Need to Know
Breastfeeding and PPD are sometimes linked. For example, a mother who struggles to breastfeed her child may feel frustrated and lose confidence in her ability to breastfeed. She may also be more likely than other moms to experience PPD symptoms.
On the other hand, if breastfeeding goes smoothly and requires minimal effort, it can help strengthen the bond between a mother and her child. In this situation, a mom dealing with PPD may actually benefit from breastfeeding her child, because this maternal bond may help alleviate her PPD symptoms.
How to Treat PPD While Breastfeeding
For moms who are struggling with PPD and are searching for the right depression treatment while breastfeeding, consulting with a doctor is key. A doctor consultation allows a mom to understand her PPD treatment options and find a safe, effective way to manage her PPD symptoms.
For moms dealing with PPD, the decision to breastfeed can be difficult. Ultimately, there are two factors that these moms should consider: their breastfeeding goals and antidepressant medications.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that moms breastfeed exclusively for the first six months after childbirth, followed by continuation of breastfeeding for one year or longer. At the same time, baby formula offers a viable alternative to breastfeeding. If a mom believes breastfeeding contributes to PPD symptoms, using baby formula ensures her baby will get the vitamins and nutrients necessary for healthy growth and development, while allowing the mom to care for her mental health as well.
Comparatively, a doctor may prescribe an antidepressant medication to help a mom address her PPD symptoms. Many antidepressants are safe to use during breastfeeding. Conversely, it is paramount to check with a doctor to find out if there are any risks associated with an antidepressant that he or she prescribes to treat PPD.
Alternative therapies are sometimes recommended to help moms treat depression as well. These therapies include:
- Exercise: Running, walking, or other exercise helps boost the production of endorphins, the feel-good chemicals in the brain. Thus, developing and following an exercise regimen could help a mom feel good about herself and combat her depression symptoms.
- Dietary Changes: Foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids and folic acid have been shown to help relieve depression symptoms. Plus, avoiding high-fat and sugary foods may help a mom improve her mood.
- Sleep: It may seem virtually impossible at times to get a good night’s sleep, particularly for a mom focused on caring for her baby. By seeking out and accepting childcare from family members, friends, and other loved ones, a mom can take a break and get the sleep she needs to be happy and healthy.
In addition to the aforementioned therapies, deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS) therapy is a popular depression treatment option for new moms. dTMS therapy does not require anesthesia, electrical shocks, or medications — all of which make it a top alternative to common depression treatments.
How Does dTMS Therapy Work?
A dTMS therapy program is tailored to a patient. It usually involves five treatment sessions per week, with each session lasting about 20 minutes, over the course of four to six weeks.
During dTMS therapy, a magnetic coil is safely placed on a patient’s head. Next, the coil generates magnetic pulses that stimulate neurons in specific brain regions that are responsible for mood. In doing so, dTMS therapy helps release serotonin, norepinephrine, and other neurotransmitters to alleviate depression symptoms.
dTMS therapy is safe and noninvasive, and a patient can immediately resume his or her normal activities after a dTMS therapy session. Over the course of a six-week dTMS therapy program, patients notice improvements in sleep and reduction in the severity of their depression symptoms. Over 70% of dTMS patients experience a significant reduction in symptoms, with 49% of those patients achieving complete remission.
Schedule a dTMS Therapy Consultation at Achieve TMS
Many depression therapy options are available, and breastfeeding moms sometimes struggle to find the right depression treatment based on their individual needs. In certain instances, these moms ignore their depression symptoms. They may even develop PPD, which puts a breastfeeding mom and her baby in danger.
At Achieve TMS, we want our patients to find a depression treatment that delivers long-lasting results. For breastfeeding moms struggling with depression symptoms, we encourage you to meet with a doctor to explore your depression treatment options. If you find traditional depression treatment options fail to deliver the desired results, we are happy to discuss dTMS therapy with you, a revolutionary depression treatment.
Deep TMS therapy is a drug-free depression treatment that provides results. To date, we have performed over 30,000 dTMS treatments, resulting in a 49% remission rate and 70% response rate. We also continue to innovate and explore ways to help our patients achieve the best-possible dTMS therapy results.
The Achieve TMS team is available to meet with you and determine if you are a good candidate for dTMS therapy. To schedule a free dTMS therapy consultation with Achieve TMS, please call or text us today at 877-909-4363.