A peek at postpartum depression

SSRH LOGOPostpartum depression doesn’t just affect new moms – it can occur in new dads, too.

Postpartum, or postnatal, depression (PPD) is a form of depression that can develop after having a baby, usually within three months of childbirth. There is no single cause of this psychiatric condition. Rather, experts suggest PPD most likely stems from a combination of physical and emotional factors, such as sleep deprivation and hormonal changes that occur after giving birth.

Postpartum Depression woman baby RM 722x406PPD is the most common post-birth complication for women – the March of Dimes reports about one in every seven new mothers will develop PPD. However, recent studies have shown that PPD is not just a risk for new moms – new fathers experience it, too. In fact, PPD is almost as common in men as it is in women. A report released by researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas indicates that as many as one in 10 men struggle with PPD following the birth of their child. The researchers explained that, like new mothers, new fathers also experience mood-altering hormonal changes after childbirth. What’s even more interesting is that certain men are at an increased risk of PPD. Risk factors for PPD in new dads include:

  • A personal or family history of depression
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Feeling distanced from baby and mom


A helping hand

The good news is that PPD sufferers, whether male or female, have treatment options so they can get back to their normal selves and routines. Because PPD can take a heavy toll on not only mom and dad, but baby, too, it’s essential to see a healthcare provider – the family’s OB-GYN or primary care provider or a mental health professional – right away. He or she can rule out potential underlying health issues – such as thyroid conditions – that may cause or worsen PPD, make a referral to a counselor and/or support group, and prescribe medication, such as an antidepressant or estrogen therapy, to treat PPD.


Steps to relief

In addition to seeing a healthcare provider, there are things new parents struggling with PPD can do to alleviate symptoms, including:

  • Being active every day
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Limiting or avoiding alcohol intake
  • Making time for self-care
  • Accepting help from others
  • Taking steps to minimize stress

Making these lifestyle changes can enhance treatment from a provider and improve overall physical and mental health

Healthy Horizons offers comprehensive behavioral health services that are individualized to each patient and family’s needs. The behavioral health team has the expertise to care for a wide range of mental health and emotional challenges. To schedule an appointment, call (479) 215-3190.

About Siloam Springs Regional Hospital

Siloam Springs Regional Hospital is a 73 licensed bed facility with 42 private patient rooms. It is accredited by the State of Arkansas Department of Health Services and The Joint Commission. Some services include inpatient and outpatient surgery, emergency medicine, medical, surgical and intensive care units, obstetrics, outpatient diagnostic services and inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation. With more than 40 physicians on the medical staff, Siloam Springs Regional Hospital provides compassionate, customer-focused care. SSRH is an affiliate of Northwest Health, one of the largest health networks in Northwest Arkansas. The facility is located at 603 N. Progress Ave. in Siloam Springs, Ark. For more information, visit