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Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a mood disorder following childbirth and can affect both parents. Symptoms of PPD may include extreme sadness, anxiety, irritability, crying uncontrollably, low energy, interruption in eating patterns, sleep disorder, and circadian rhythms disruption. Postpartum depression can interfere with normal mother-infant bonding and adversely affect the newborn’s development in short and long term. PPD affects nearly one of four women but it is also prevalent in their male partners. Postpartum depression onset usually begins between two weeks to a month after delivery.

 

First-Time Parents

It is often said that nothing can prepare the expecting parents for the dramatic changes that the birth of their newborn brings to their lives. Aside from extreme emotional attachment of caring for the newborn there are many sudden and extreme emotional and behavioral changes that are very hard to imagine and prepare for before the arrival of the infant. Parents experiencing child birth for the first time go through physiological as well as emotional upheaval that is unprecedented in their lives.

 

 

 

 By the time of birth, the mother’s body has gone through gradual but extreme changes to provide the right environment for the healthy development of the fetus and ultimately the birth itself. Hormonal fluctuations can cause extreme variation in mother’s mood and mental health and more.

There are physiological and behavioral changes during childbearing and after the birth that have extreme consequences on the overall health of both parents and in turn the infant. Sleep disorder and circadian rhythms disruption are amongst the most consequential problems facing the first-time parents as both are highly associated with many mood disorders as well as chronic diseases. Although the physiological changes during the pregnancy and childbirth effects the mother, the postpartum disruptions could be a life-changing experience for both parents.

 

Hormonal fluctuations can cause extreme variation in mother’s mood and mental health and more.

Pregnancy, Childbirth And Sleep Disorders

Without a fail almost all parents to newborns experience a great change in their ability to enjoy sleep in the way they used to. As the infant’s circadian rhythms are not yet developed and a regular feeding and sleeping pattern is yet to establish parents must follow an unusual pattern that is extremely disruptive. Even a healthy baby wakes up every few hours to be fed and comforted. This causes an enormous strain on the mother who has already been through tremendous physical and psychological stress of the child bearing period and the child birth.

This disruption in sleep can cause sleep disorders such as, insomnia and excessive sleepiness during the day. Lack of sufficient sleep has been proven to be associated with many dangerous physiological chronic diseases as well as many mood disorders. Sleep disorders affect both parents almost equally during the first months and longer. The mother’s sleep disorder could start during the pregnancy and continue postpartum.

 

 

PREGNANCY, CHILDBIRTH AND CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS DISRUPTION

Circadian rhythms disruption is very common during pregnancy and continues into the postpartum period. A combination of hormonal, environmental, and behavioral factors are considered to be involved. An infant craves physical and emotional attention every few hours that is crucial to his/her health. New parents have well established circadian rhythms that will be disrupted for this duration. Research indicates that sustained disruption of the circadian rhythms can lead to many physiological and mental disorders. It is important to mention that postpartum disruption of the circadian rhythms affects men similarly.    

   

Research indicates that sustained disruption of the circadian rhythms can lead to many physiological and mental disorders.

Postpartum Depression Signs And Symptoms

A diagnosis of postpartum depression is typically considered after the following signs and symptoms persist for more than two weeks:

  •         Persistent sadness, crying consistently

  •         Severe mood swing, anger or irritability

  •         Persistent anxiety

  •         Feelings of guilt, shame, helplessness

  •         Low self-esteem

  •         Feelings of numbness, emptiness, exhaustion

  •         Trouble bonding with the baby

  •         Feeling inapt

  •         Lack of interest in usual activities

  •         Low energy

  •         Low libido

  •         Changes in appetite

  •         Lack of motivation

  •         Social withdrawal

  •         Poor self-care

  •         Insomnia or excessive sleep

  •         Diminished ability to think clearly of make decisions

  •         Lack of concentration and poor memory

  •         Worry about harming the baby, partner or self.

  •         Sleep disorders

  •         Circadian rhythms disruption

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Causes of Postpartum Depression

The causes of PPD are not clearly understood, but a number of factors considered being the potential culprit. Extreme hormonal changes, major life events, environmental, emotional and genetic factors that are beyond control are assumed as potential causes. Evidence suggests that hormonal changes may play more of a major role in PPD in women than men. Postpartum depression is highly associated with sleep disorders and circadian rhythms disruptions.

 

HOW CIRCADIAN EYEWEAR CAN HELP POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION

Waking up on odd hours of the night to take care of an infant is extremely stressful for parents, but the physical and emotional stresses are not just relevant to the time of attention to the newborn. When the child calls, mother or father usually flip the light on and walk to the baby to attend to her/his needs.

This act starts a process that disrupts the circadian rhythms as well as sleep for hours to come and for days after. When the bright light goes on at night, the brain gets a message through the eyes that it is daytime and the body must wake up and be active for the day’s work. This is simply our on-off switch located in the brain that sees the blue component of any light as the signal for daybreak and in turn kick-starts the body into the day mode. It takes only 30 seconds for the light to suppress the production of melatonin which is an extremely important circadian rhythms hormone and helps the quality and duration of sleep.

 

 

 

 

 

To attend the baby when waking up, before turning the light on, the new parent can wear Circadian Eyewear in order to stop the blue light from reaching the retina. By doing so, a condition called the virtual darkness keeps the brain in the night mode.  While wearing Circadian Eyewear the blue light from the bright electrical lights does not cause melatonin suppression in the brain as it is eliminated by the eyewear. This lack of disruption in the flow of melatonin helps the new parent with ability to sleep right after the night feeding or comforting the baby and stops disruption of the circadian rhythms.

The parents get better rest and their night-time rhythms are not disrupted which helps with many of the symptoms of postpartum depression as well as those caused by sleep disorders and circadian rhythms disruptions. This also causes a less stressful and better interaction with the infant which has a calming quality.   

Start wearing Circadian Eyewear two hours before sleep each night to allow for better circadian rhythms entrainment and better sleep quality. Wear them each time you wake to attend the baby or doing anything thereafter until your regular wake time or morning.

 Circadian Eyewear Collection

 

RESEARCH REGARDING POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION AND CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS

Research from PubMed 

Sleep, daily activity rhythms and postpartum mood: A longitudinal study across the perinatal period.

Infant sleep and feeding patterns are associated with maternal sleep, stress, and depressed mood in women with a history of major depressive disorder (MDD).

Plasma Melatonin Circadian Rhythms: Low in Pregnant, Elevated in Postpartum, Depressed Women, and Phase-Advanced in Pregnant Women with Personal or Family Histories of Depression

Mother-Infant Circadian Rhythm: Development of Individual Patterns and Dyadic Synchrony

Maternal and infant activity: Analytic approaches for the study of circadian rhythm.

Mother-infant circadian rhythm: development of individual patterns and dyadic synchrony.

Circadian Phase Shifts and Mood across the Perinatal Period in Women with a History of Major Depressive Disorder: A Preliminary Communication.

 

Research Sources