Postpartum Depression Treatment in 2019
In this video, we introduce Dr. Robert D. McMullen, MD who is a psychiatrist in NYC that has been performing psychopharmacology for over 30 years, the last 10 of which includes transcranial magnetic stimulation(TMS). Today, he will discuss postpartum depression treatment.
Preparing for Pregnancy
First off, women should prepare for their pregnancy in two ways. The first way is by taking folic acid to prevent neuro tube defects. The other way is by taking Vitamin D, which is a steroid hormone that is important for overall health. Women should also ask their physicians to perform a folic acid test called the MTHFR test. This test measures folic acid metabolism. 1 in 5 women and men are unable to properly make use of folic acid in their bodies which is something that helps prevent depression as well.
Postpartum depression is more complicated than regular depression because it has different causes and treatments. Moreover, some women may experience postpartum highs, which is more likely to happen in someone who is very bipolar. Even among men, there is a very high incidence of postpartum mania. A study performed on a group of men showed that men got manic depressive due to the fact that they held hands with their wife throughout the entire labor, resulting in sleep deprivation. A lack of sleep is what causes people to develop mania, especially if they suffer from bipolarism.
Causes of Postpartum Depression
Women develop depression after giving birth largely due to hormonal changes that occur in their bodies during childbirth. Estrogen and progesterone levels in their bodies go up extremely high during pregnancy, sometimes 7 times the normal amount. Afterward, they drop down dramatically to normal levels after they’ve given birth. This sudden change in hormone levels affects mood, including causing depression.
Another reason is due to a lack of social support from husbands who are not around during the childbirth and who do not offer any form of help whatsoever. Women may also develop depression due to financial challenges that they’re facing during the pregnancy. Also, if the mother does not wish to have the child, that may lead to postpartum depression. Furthermore, according to a doctor women go into depression due to the fact that it’s in their nature. Throughout human history, women have always used depression as a way to get people’s attention so they can engage with her. This is so they can offer her support during pregnancy in the event that she’s not receiving any support from the father of the child.
Also, women who already suffer from depression during pregnancy are at a much higher risk of developing postpartum depression. Furthermore, if they have a history of recurring depression, or they have had previous postpartum depression, then they’re at a higher risk as well. In some occasions, postpartum depression develops randomly in some women due to the unpredictability of the disorder.
For women who have first degree relatives with psychiatric illnesses, there’s a 50% chance that they’ll develop postpartum depression. If she has a first-degree relative that is manic depressive, including having bipolar 1 disorder, then she is 3 times more likely to develop postpartum depression than the average person. Moreover, postpartum depression is a common occurrence, affecting between 10% and 20% of women. An even larger proportion of women suffer from baby blues for weeks after giving birth.
A severe form of postpartum depression called postpartum psychosis occurs in 1 out of 1000 mothers where they become psychotic or suicidal. In a famous case, a woman who developed postpartum psychosis killed her children. Anyone who develops this severe form of postpartum psychosis should be admitted into the hospital immediately.
Postpartum Depression Treatment
As far as ways to prevent this disorder, patients can be put in small doses of lithium, about 150 milligrams, during the pregnancy. Most women who give birth to a child with a birth defect often feel a sense of guilt because they may blame their baby’s condition on medication they took during pregnancy. However, if a woman suffers from severe depression during pregnancy, then she will be exposing her child to harmful chemicals and hormones produced in her body, which will require medication.
Studies also show that depression during pregnancy causes developmental problems in babies in the long run. Furthermore, failure to thrive is a condition that affects babies with depressed mothers. These babies struggle to develop because they refuse to eat, and therefore are unable to grow. In these, cases the mother does not care for the baby due to their depression. As a result, the baby develops withdrawal symptoms that affect its ability to thrive, hence the name of the disorder.
Besides Lithium, Omega 3 fish oil can be used for postpartum depression treatment. A lack of Vitamin D and Omega 3 has been found to cause depression. This is due to the fact that the body is naturally deprived of both. Therefore, further depletion in the levels of both results in depression. As far as Vitamin D, wearing little to no clothes and exposing yourself to the sun allows the body to absorb higher levels of Vitamin D. However, in today’s world most people prefer to wear clothing, unlike our ancestors who wore very little. This, in turn, affects our ability to absorb adequate levels of Vitamin D in the body.
Finally, for those at risk of postpartum depression, they should be monitored by a psychiatrist both during and after the pregnancy. In addition, most women can take medication during the last 6 months of pregnancy. This is due to the fact that the baby is fully formed by then. TMS therapy is also an option for postpartum depression treatment for those who don’t wish to expose their child to medication. It is an ideal treatment both before and after the pregnancy because it causes little to no side effects. Based on the latest TMS research, 2 treatments a day for about 15 days should be enough to treat depression for most people.
In conclusion, postpartum depression is a common issue that affects women and there are a variety of reasons. Those who get postpartum depression symptoms right after pregnancy should not get alarmed. This is because it is a natural occurrence due to the shock the body goes through during childbirth. Contacting a qualified psychiatrist such as Dr. McMullen from NYC will help women overcome these depression symptoms and bring back happiness into their lives. For more information, you can call (212) 362-9635 or you can visit the website at https://tmsbraincare.com/.