Postpartum Depression

What is Postpartum Depression?

Many new mothers can experience extreme fatigue due to not getting enough sleep and also taking care of a new baby.  It is important to determine whether you are “just tired” or suffering from postpartum depression.

What are the symptoms of Postpartum Depression?

Symptoms of mild Postpartum Depression (PPD) include sadness, anxiety, tearfulness, and trouble sleeping.

These symptoms usually appear within several days of delivery and go away 10 to 12 days after the birth. Usually the only treatment needed is reassurance and some help with household chores and care of the baby. About 20% of women who have postpartum blues will develop more lasting depression. It is very important to let your health care provider know if you experience the “blues” that last longer than two weeks.

Postpartum depression is a serious illness that can occur in the first few months after childbirth. It also can happen after miscarriage and stillbirth. It is a temporary depression related to pregnancy and childbirth. It comes in two forms: early on-set, commonly referred to as the “baby blues,” and late onset. The early onset type is mild and may affect as many as 80% of women after they deliver. It starts after delivery and usually resolves within a couple of weeks without medical treatment. The later onset form is what most people think of as postpartum depression.
This more severe form of Postpartum Depression  is usually recognized several weeks after delivery, affecting about 10% – 16% of women.

Am I just tired?

Many new mothers can experience extreme fatigue due to not getting enough sleep and also taking care of a new baby.  It is important to determine whether you are “just tired” or suffering from postpartum depression.

A new mother should make an appointment with her healthcare provider if:
•    Fatigue doesn’t stop
•    Fatigue is accompanied by other symptoms such as sadness or headaches
•    Fatigue is noticed by others
•    You feel tired after activity
•    You also feel depressed, anxious or are feeling anger towards your baby

Other commons sources of postpartum fatigue include:
•    Anemia
•    Infections
•    Thyroid problems
•    Heart problems
•    Baby blues or Postpartum Depression

If it’s not Depression what is it?

Most new moms experience the “Baby Blues”.  You may feel tearful, fatigued, irritable, sad, have mood swings and/or have trouble concentrating.  Your symptoms will be similar to Postpartum Depression, but will usually start within 3-4 days after delivery and will get better within 10 days, and you will feel that your symptoms are mild and short lived

On the other hand, your symptoms may be more severe than Postpartum Depression, and may include hallucinations and delusions. Your symptoms may change rapidly. You might be very restless, confused, angry, disorganized and unable to sleep. If this is how you feel, you might have “Postpartum Psychosis”.  This is a Medical Emergency!  Call 911 or your healthcare provider right away! If you have a history of bipolar disorder or have had postpartum psychosis in an earlier pregnancy you are at a much higher risk.

Do I have Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum Depression usually starts within the first 90 days of delivery, but, it can begin up to as long as 12 months postpartum and/or after you stop breastfeeding.
Some symptoms of Postpartum Depression are:

•    Strong feelings of sadness, anxiety or irritability
•    Feel that you cannot take care of yourself or your family
•    Crying
•    Difficulty motivating yourself to do everyday tasks
•    Lack of interest in food, or overeating
•    Lack of interest in bathing or dressing
•    Unable to sleep or sleeping to much
•    Trouble with concentrating or remembering things
•    Loss of pleasure or interest in things that used to be fun
•    Overly intense worry about your baby
•    Lack of interest in your baby
•    Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby

What can I do to help myself?

Support:

Some places to look for emotional support would be family, friends, therapy support groups or your healthcare provider.

Exercise:

Consider joining a local mothers group or exercise class, yoga classes or a local women’s training program.

Nutrition:

While pregnant or after giving birth, eat more foods that contain Omega-3 Fatty Acids such as fatty fish, walnuts, flaxseed and canola oils.

Knowledge:

Know you are not alone.

Read books or blogs written by doctors or women who have had similar experiences. Speak with your healthcare provider about your symptoms and find out your medical and therapy options.

Brooklyn Women’s Counseling Services provides a variety of psychological counseling services for women. Our staff of social workers and psychiatrists are trained professionals who are licensed by New York State.

Make an Appointment

Postpartum Psychosis
IS A MEDICAL EMERGENCY!
Call 911 or your healthcare provider right away!