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Susan Dowd Stone: Postpartum Mood Disorder Q&A

By Expert HERWriter
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Here are some questions I frequently hear from clients, their family members and friends. If you have a specific question that is not addressed here, email it to me and I'll do my best to get a response online ASAP. I will be adding questions and answers to this article every week.

In addition, you can visit my website www.perinatalpro.com where you will find additional information about pregnancy related mood disorders and

mental health.

How long after giving birth does postpartum depression typically appear?

This question has a range of responses. While many women
are not diagnosed with postpartum depression until 4 - 6 months after the baby's birth, this doesn't mean there were not symptoms before then...it means this is the time frame in which the mother or her loved ones finally sought help for the illness.

Sometimes, postpartum depression occurs immediately after birth and is identified prior to discharge due to symptom severity; at other times, its presentation may be more gradual as the intensity of the symptoms increase and the mother realizes what she is feeling is more the baby blues.

What are the baby blues and how do I tell the difference between that and postpartum depression?

The baby blues frequently occurs anywhere from immediately to two weeks after delivery and resolves on its own within two to four weeks. Symptoms are tearfulness, mood swings, transient feelings of insecurity, self-doubt and sometimes trauma.

Postpartum mood disorders on the other hand, present with more persistent and heightened symptoms such as inability to relax, rumination, overwhelming sadness, feelings of inadequacy, excessive guilt, feelings of not being able to bond with the baby, insomnia, isolation, estrangement from family and friends, dissociation, wishing the baby were not there, thoughts of harming self or the baby. Watch a video of the symptom description here.

I have heard that postpartum depression can start during pregnancy, how do I know it's not just "hormones"?

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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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