Postpartum depression

Other names: Depression, postpartum

DEFINITION

The birth of a baby can trigger a jumble of powerful emotions, from excitement and joy to fear and anxiety. But it can also result in something you might not expect — Depression. Many new moms experience the "baby blues" after childbirth, which commonly include mood swings and crying spells that fade quickly. But some new moms experience a more severe, long-lasting form of Depression known as Postpartum depression. Rarely, an extreme form of Postpartum depression known as postpartum psychosis develops after childbirth. Postpartum depression isn't a character flaw or a weakness. Sometimes it's simply a complication of giving birth. If you have Postpartum depression, prompt treatment can help you manage your symptoms — and enjoy your baby.

SYMPTOMS

Signs and symptoms of Depression after childbirth vary, depending on the type of Depression.

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Baby blues symptoms

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Postpartum depression symptoms Postpartum depression may appear to be the baby blues at first — but the signs and symptoms are more intense and longer lasting, eventually interfering with your ability to care for your baby and handle other daily tasks.

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Postpartum psychosis With postpartum psychosis — a rare condition that typically develops within the first two weeks after delivery — the signs and symptoms are even more severe.

# WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR

If you're feeling depressed after your baby's birth, you may be reluctant or embarrassed to admit it. But it's important to call your doctor if the signs and symptoms of Depression have any of these features.

CAUSES

There's no single cause of Postpartum depression. Physical, emotional, and lifestyle factors may all play a role.

RISK FACTORS

Postpartum depression can develop after the birth of any child, not just the first. The risk increases if:

COMPLICATIONS

Left untreated, Postpartum depression can interfere with mother-child bonding and cause family problems.

PREPARING FOR YOUR APPOINTMENT

If you have signs and symptoms of Postpartum depression, call your doctor. Don't let shame or anxiety stop you. Postpartum depression is common, and your doctor knows it's not your fault.

TESTS AND DIAGNOSIS

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) considers Postpartum depression a subtype of major Depression.

TREATMENTS AND DRUGS

Treatment and recovery time vary, depending on the severity of your Depression and your individual needs.

LIFESTYLE AND HOME REMEDIES

COPING AND SUPPORT


QUESTIONS

  1. What are the symptoms of postpartum psychosis?

Confusion, hallucinations, paranoia, attempts to harm oneself or the baby.

  1. How long do baby blues typically last?

A few days to one to two weeks.

  1. What lifestyle factors can lead to postpartum depression?

Demanding baby or older siblings, difficulty breastfeeding, financial problems, lack of support.

  1. How is postpartum psychosis treated?

Immediate treatment in the hospital with medications like antidepressants and antipsychotics.

  1. What are some risk factors for developing postpartum depression?

History of depression, stressful events during pregnancy, problems in relationships or weak support system.

  1. How is postpartum depression diagnosed?

Signs and symptoms must develop within four weeks of giving birth according to DSM criteria.

  1. What should you do if you suspect you have postpartum psychosis?

Seek medical attention immediately.

  1. What lifestyle changes can help manage postpartum depression symptoms?

Seeking counseling, medication, hormone therapy if needed.

  1. How long does postpartum depression usually last with appropriate treatment?

Usually goes away within a few months.

  1. How can partners cope with a loved one experiencing postpartum depression?

Encouraging treatment seeking behavior, offering support and understanding.