In the first few weeks of caring for a newborn,
most new moms feel anxious, sad, frustrated, tired, and overwhelmed. Sometimes known
as the "baby blues," these
feelings get better within a few weeks. But for some women, they are very strong or
don't get better. Postpartum depression is when these feelings don't go away after
about 2 weeks or make it hard for a woman to take care of her baby.
It's not anyone's fault or a weakness when a woman gets postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression is treatable. Treatment helps most women feel like themselves
again. Then they can enjoy having a new baby at home.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Postpartum Depression?
Symptoms of postpartum depression can vary from woman to woman. But common signs
not wanting to do things that usually are enjoyable
Although it is very rare, some women have very serious symptoms such as:
thoughts of hurting the baby or themselves
hearing voices, seeing things that are not there, or feeling paranoid (very worried,
suspicious, or mistrustful)
What Causes Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression is caused by a combination of:
hormonal changes that happen after a baby is born
changes such as the loss
of sleep and increased stress that come with taking care of a newborn baby
Who Gets Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression can affect any woman — but some may be more at risk
for developing it. Women who have had any kind of depression
in the past (including postpartum depression) or who have a family history of depression
are more likely to get postpartum depression.
Other things that might increase the chance of postpartum depression include serious
stress during the pregnancy, medical problems during the pregnancy or after birth,
and lack of support at home.
How Is Postpartum Depression Diagnosed?
A doctor or psychologist usually diagnosis a woman with postpartum depression based
on her symptoms. Sometimes the woman herself notices the symptoms. Other times a concerned
partner, spouse, family member, or friend notices the symptoms.
How Is Postpartum Depression Treated?
Treatment for postpartum depression can vary. It might include:
improving self-care (getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, and taking
time to relax)
getting more support by joining a group or talking (by phone or online) with others
going through postpartum depression
taking medicine. There are medicines that are safe to take while breastfeeding.
Where Can I Get Help?
If you have symptoms of postpartum depression, get help right away. The sooner
you get help, the sooner you will feel better. Start by talking to your health care
provider (or your baby's). They can:
Prescribe medicines to help you.
Recommend that you see a psychologist, psychiatrist, or other mental health worker
Do blood tests to make sure something else isn't causing your symptoms.
If you don't have a health care provider, you can get help online at: