Five Signs of Postpartum Depression

Feeling down after having a baby? Here are some signs that it’s more than just the baby blues.

August 08, 2016 | HF Healthy Living Team

Welcoming a baby into your life can be a happy time, but what if it’s not?

If you feel irritable, tired, or weepy in the days after bringing home your new baby, it doesn’t mean that you are a bad parent or that you are doing something wrong—in fact, as many as four out of five moms experience sadness or anxiety in the weeks following giving birth, a condition commonly known as the ‘baby blues.’

But if these feelings are severe, get in the way of your normal activities, or last for longer than two weeks, you may have a more serious condition called postpartum depression. Up to 10% of mothers and 4% of fathers experience depression after their baby’s birth. Plus, postpartum depression doesn’t always show up right away. It can occur anytime during the year following childbirth.

If you or your partner is struggling with postpartum depression, the first step in getting help is recognizing the signals.

Click on the images below to learn about some of the signs of postpartum depression.

‘Baby Blues’ That Don’t Go Away

‘Baby Blues’ That Don’t Go Away

 

‘Baby Blues’ That Don’t Go Away

Having mood swings or feeling tired and anxious after having a baby are normal symptoms of the baby blues, and most of the time they go away within a few days. If your symptoms last longer than two weeks and get in the way of your day-to-day life, it may be a sign that you have depression.

 

Crying Often or a Lot

Crying Often or a Lot

 

Crying Often or a Lot

Severe sadness, anxiety, feeling extra sensitive, fatigue, exhaustion, and hopelessness are all symptoms of postpartum depression. If you’re crying a lot for these reasons or any others, you may be depressed and in need of help.

 

Trouble Sleeping or Eating

Trouble Sleeping or Eating

 

Trouble Sleeping or Eating

A new baby will almost definitely cause changes in your sleeping and eating patterns, but if you can’t sleep or eat even when you try—or you want to sleep or eat all the time no matter what—it may be because depression is causing changes in your brain and body.

 

Guilt or Self-Doubt

Guilt or Self-Doubt

 

Guilt or Self-Doubt

Feeling guilty about being a bad parent or as if you aren’t good enough to care for your child are common symptoms of depression. If you feel this way, don’t suffer in silence! Ask your doctor for help.

 

Thoughts of Harming Self or Baby

Thoughts of Harming Self or Baby

 

Thoughts of Harming Self or Baby

If you have thoughts about suicide or hurting your baby, know that this does not mean that you will act on them or that you want to. Postpartum depression can cause these feelings, and they are not your fault. If you feel that you will harm yourself or your child, call 9-1-1 right away.

 
 

Depression is a disease that, in most cases, can be treated. If you think that you or your partner is depressed, speak to your doctor right away or call 1-800-LIFENET for free, 24/7 counseling. Getting the support you need will help your whole family—including your baby—be happy and healthy.

 

© 2016 HF Management Services, LLC.

Healthfirst is the brand name used for products and services provided by one or more of the Healthfirst group of affiliated companies.

This health information or program is for educational purposes only and not intended to treat, diagnose, or act as a substitute for medical advice from your provider. Consult your healthcare provider and always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions.

Sources
“Depression Among Women,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. February 29, 2016.
http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/depression/

“Depression During and After Pregnancy Fact Sheet,” Womenshealth.gov. February 12, 2016.
http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/depression-pregnancy.html

“Postpartum Depression and Anxiety,” Babycenter.com. Accessed June 9, 2016.
http://www.babycenter.com/0_postpartum-depression-and-anxiety_227.bc?showAll=true

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