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Postpartum Depression Symptoms & Diagnosis

Symptoms

Symptoms usually occur within 6 months after childbirth, though they may begin during the pregnancy and may last from a few weeks to a few months. Symptoms may range from mild depression to severe psychosis (in very rare cases). Postpartum depression is different than "baby blues," which is a mild form of depression that occurs within a few days after childbirth and lasts up to a week.

Symptoms may include:

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in life
  • Loss of appetite
  • Rapid mood swings
  • Episodes of crying or tearfulness
  • Poor concentration, memory loss, difficulty making decisions
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Feelings of irritability, anxiety , or panic
  • Restlessness
  • Fear of hurting or killing oneself or one's child
  • Feelings of hopelessness or guilt
  • Obsessive thoughts, especially unreasonable, repetitive fears about your child’s health and welfare
  • Lack of energy or motivation
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain

More serious symptoms associated with postpartum depression that may require immediate medical attention include:

  • Lack of interest in your infant
  • Suicidal or homicidal thoughts
  • Hallucinations or delusions
  • Loss of contact with reality

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and may perform a physical exam. Your doctor may ask you to undergo blood tests, to see if some undiagnosed physical problem (such as a thyroid condition) could be causing your symptoms. You may be referred to a mental health professional.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2017 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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