Care for Mom
'Baby Blues' or Postpartum Depression?
It's natural to feel strong emotions when you're pregnant and just after you've had a baby. You may feel elated or you may feel sad. Many women experience the "baby blues" just after birth, making them feel sad, impatient, or irritable. These feelings usually go away in a week or two. They don't always need to be treated by a healthcare provider.
However, for some women, feelings of sadness are much more intense. These intense feelings are called postpartum depression (PPD). Postpartum depression can be treated with medication and counseling.
The following are a few questions based on your stage of maternity to help you gauge if you are at risk for postpartum depression.
You are currently pregnant:
- You became depressed after a previous childbirth or have a history of depression.
- During this pregnancy, you feel depressed or have had anxiety problems.
- You will have little or no support/help at home to care for this child.
- You and your partner are having marital or relationship problems.
- You have had a recent life-altering event, such as a death in the family, loss of a job, a job change, or divorce or separation.
- You have doubts about yourself as a person, or feel you are not worthwhile.
- This pregnancy was unplanned or unwanted.
You have recently delivered a baby:
- You feel restless or irritable, or you have no energy.
- You feel sad or depressed, or you cry a lot.
- You have headaches, chest pains, heart palpitations (your heart beats fast and feels like it's skipping beats), or hyperventilation (fast and shallow breathing).
- You have trouble sleeping or are very tired, or both, but these problems are not related to caring for the baby.
- You have no appetite and have lost weight, or you overeat and have gained weight.
- You have trouble focusing, remembering, or making decisions.
- You are overly worried about the baby, or you have little or no interest in the baby.
- You feel worthless or guilty.
- You have no interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy, including sex.
- Your baby is irritable, fussy, unpredictable, and difficult to soothe.
- You are afraid of hurting your baby or yourself.
- Your baby was born prematurely, has a health problem, or you have twins or other multiples.
- You have little or no support or help at home to care for this child.
- You experienced a brief period of tearfulness and mood swings in the first week or so after delivery.
- You had a life-altering event during this pregnancy, such as a death in the family, loss of a job, a job change, or divorce or separation.
If any of the previous statements apply to your experience, call (800) 237-8662 to schedule an appointment with a behavioral health specialist.