Updated: Jun 23, 2020
Pregnancy is a time of significant hormonal changes that gradually build up over 9 months and then are suddenly withdrawn at delivery - somewhat akin to Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) but magnified many times over.
As we all know, hormones play a major role in our emotions and metabolism. Pregnancy, therefore, is also a time of emotional and metabolic changes. And as the woman gradually comes to live with the changes, the hormones are suddenly withdrawn, leading to reversal (albeit very rapidly) of the metabolic and emotional changes. It is still a mystery how most women can endure 9 months of emotional and metabolic changes only to have all these changes reversed rapidly in a matter of hours and still be loving enough to care for the new baby, her family, meet the expectations of her near and dear ones and of the society at large, and sometimes, also work at the same time. A few women however develop significant emotional issues after pregnancy necessitating therapy.
When and why some women develop significant psychological problems after pregnancy depends on many factors as mentioned below:
1. Pre-pregnancy health, including Mental health / Stress
2. Metabolic and hormonal changes that occur in pregnancy
3. Nutritional status / Diet before, during and after pregnancy
4. Lifestyle before and after pregnancy, including how much the lifestyle has changed since falling pregnant. Lifestyle closely mirrors emotions and is a very important factor.
5. Socio-economic factors
6. Beliefs and Expectations - from self; from immediate & extended family; from society; from work, etc.
7. Miscellaneous factors: difficulty understanding the language of a new baby, Sleep deprivation, Tiredness, Pain (e.g if surgery or stitches)
Treating psychological symptoms after pregnancy requires a thorough understanding of the above factors and how they relate to each other and to the patient. As part of assessment, I will evaluate the timeline of life events & past medical history; assess her lifestyle and dietary habits. Sometimes blood tests may be required. I will be looking for clues that can shed light to a possible cause. Most often, we are able to reverse the changes.
If you are suffering with or know someone with these issues, or if you are planning a pregnancy, I am here to help. Book an appointment now.