In the days or weeks after having a baby, many women find that they feel a little depressed, experiencing symptoms such as sadness, loss of appetite, and trouble sleeping. These feelings are usually due to the “baby blues,” which are experienced by 70% to 80% of new mothers. However, one in 10 new mothers will experience postpartum depression, which is a serious illness that needs to be treated.
How can you distinguish between the baby blues and postpartum depression? While they do have similarities, each has distinct symptoms. By learning more about theses differences, you will be better equipped to react if you or someone you know is experiencing postpartum depression.
The Baby Blues
The baby blues involve relatively mild symptoms that appear 3-4 days after delivery and usually go away within a couple of weeks.
Neurotic and introverted personality characteristics
If you have several of the risk factors listed above, talk to your doctor. An analysis of the results of 15 trials on postpartum depression, which included over 7,600 women, found that support by public health nurses or midwives significantly decreased the risk of developing postpartum depression. If you do experience postpartum depression, it can be treated with therapy, support networks, and medications such as antidepressants. Treating postpartum depression early can help prevent it from getting worse.
Postpartum depression is different than postpartum psychosis, which requires immediate medical attention. In postpartum psychosis, a woman experiences delusions and hallucinations, and is at risk of committing child abuse, suicide, or infanticide. Postpartum psychosis is more rare than postpartum depression, occurring in about 1 in 1,000 new mothers.
Decreasing Your Risk of Postpartum Depression
Strategies that may help decrease your chances of developing postpartum depression:
Avoid major life changes (eg, moving, changing jobs) during pregnancy whenever possible.
Enlist the support of friends and family, both while you are pregnant and after you have a baby.
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