Every woman goes through an immense number of hormonal changes during and after pregnancy. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, hormones have a direct effect on the brain chemistry that controls mood and emotions. Most women go through mild mood swings and may be more sensitive than usual during their pregnancy and after delivery. Some hormonal changes may also cause conditions such as postpartum distress syndrome.
Postpartum Distress Syndrome
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, rapid hormonal changes from pregnancy may cause postpartum distress syndrome. The mildest form of PDS is often referred to as baby blues; whereas the more severe form is called postpartum depression. Many women experience baby blues, whose symptoms include oversensitivity, irritability, crying spells, loss of appetite and low self-esteem. According to FamilyEducation.com, these symptoms usually go way within a few weeks, but it is advised to call a doctor and monitor your condition while you are experiencing the baby blues in order to prevent complications. If your symptoms are more severe — such as having changes in eating or sleeping patterns or feelings of anxiety — this may be postpartum depression, so call your doctor immediately.
How Hormonal Changes Can Lead to PDS
After delivery, there is a sudden change in estrogen and progesterone hormone levels in a woman’s body. While these hormone levels are very high during pregnancy, they quickly return to normal within the first 24 hours after delivery. This rapid change in the hormone level can result in postpartum distress syndrome. A possible cause for the more severe form of PDS, postpartum depression, is the drop in thyroid hormones, which are responsible for regulating the use and storage of energy from food. In both cases, doctors will either prescribe medicine or suggest rest in milder cases.
Your Hormones and Others
Depending on the extent of the hormonal changes in your body and how your body reacts to them, your condition, mild or severe, will have an effect on your loved ones. Because you may be more irritable and sensitive than normal, you may hurt others’ feelings or overreact to things others may say or do. Educate your family and friends about the hormonal changes you are going through and explain how they may affect your behavior.
Seek support from family members and friends if you are experiencing PDS. This can help you feel less isolated; isolation can worsen the situation. Support and understanding from those close to you can help you as you make the transition and recover from delivery. There are also support groups and hotlines for women experiencing PDS.