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Postpartum Depression is a temporary condition and can be treated with caring support, medication and talking with a counselor
While most mothers adjust easily to the arrival of their new baby, some find they are not prepared for the emotions and feelings they may have after giving birth.
Postpartum Depression (PPD) describes a wide range of emotional and physical reactions to childbirth or adoption. PPD affects millions of women worldwide every year.
Postpartum Depression differs from "baby blues." The "baby blues" are very common and can begin soon after birth. About 50 to 80 percent of new mothers cry and feel overwhelmed, irritable, restless or anxious. "Baby blues" are not pleasant, but they usually go away on their own in less than two weeks. Take good care of yourself. Ask for and accept help from others. Let your health care providers know if the blues last more than two weeks.
Postpartum Depression (PPD)
About one in 10 new mothers feels depressed for more than a couple of weeks, and may be diagnosed with Postpartum Depression. PPD may begin soon after birth or may appear anytime in the year after birth.
Women with PPD may experience:
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Self doubt, low self-esteem
- Thoughts of hurting self or baby
- Loss or increase of appetite
- Lack of energy
- Lack of concentration
- Rapid mood swings
- Frightening thoughts
- Thoughts they can't get out of their minds
Some of these feelings may be caused by physical conditions. Let your health care provider know if you experience any of these symptoms. They will help you get the treatment that is best for you.
How Does Post Partum Depression Affect Your Baby?
If you are depressed, you:
- May have difficulty responding to your baby's basic needs.
- May have trouble bonding, or "falling in love" with your baby.
- May not have the energy to talk, sing or play with your baby.
It is important to be aware of the signs of depression and to get help as quickly as possible.
Get professional help from a health care provider who knows about treating PPD.
- Be kind to yourself – Eat right, sleep, rest and exercise.
- Ask for and accept help from others.
- Express your feelings, both "good" and "bad." It is okay to cry.
- Talk to someone who cares about you.
- Do something "just for you" every day.
- Take a break from the baby. Let someone else care for the baby for awhile.
- Set realistic expectations. Baby care takes a lot of time.
- Plan your day to get a feeling of control over your life.
- Look for humor. Have fun and a good laugh.
- Try not to make any big life changes until you are used to your new life.
For help and more information, call the Women's Center at Presbyterian.