Postpartum Depression

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Postpartum Depression Guide

Rosa Cabrera RN

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How to Identify Postpartum Depression

By Stacy Lloyd HERWriter
what you should know about postpartum depression Alena Ozerova/PhotoSpin

Many women experience the "baby blues" in the first couple of weeks after childbirth. With the baby blues, women may have trouble sleeping and mood swings, teary, and overwhelmed. They may have these feelings along with being happy about their baby.

However, postpartum depression (PPD) is not to be confused with the “baby blues,” said HowToDoThings.com. Postpartum depression is a more serious, prolonged mental condition that adversely affects the mother and requires treatment.

HelpGuide.org described postpartum depression as usually developing gradually over a period of several months. But it can also come on suddenly, and in some women, the initial signs don’t appear until months after childbirth.

Postpartum depression is thought to be caused by several factors including stress and physical and hormonal changes, stated HelpGuide.org.

There are ways to identify postpartum depression. HowToDoThings.com said overreacting to trivial matters, weepiness and mood swings are some of the clearest indicators of PPD.

Women with postpartum depression may feel very sad, hopeless and empty. Some women also may feel anxious or lose pleasure in everyday things, said WebMD.

HowToDoThings.com said that women might suffer from trouble sleeping even if the baby is sleeping peacefully. And most mothers suffering from PPD are unable to fully concentrate. Their decision-making and analytical abilities become reduced.

Women may not feel hungry and might lose weight, but some feel hungrier and gain weight, wrote WebMD.

Baptist Health South Florida said that other symptoms of postpartum depression include isolating yourself from others and experiencing thoughts of death or suicide.

The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) is the screening instrument most commonly used to identify postpartum depression, wrote Massachusetts General Hospital (Mass General). With this 10-item questionnaire, a score of 10 or greater or an affirmative answer on question 10 (presence of suicidal thoughts) is suggestive of postpartum depression.

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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