Postpartum Depression

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Having a baby will cause your life to change.  You will experience feelings of highs and lows over the next few weeks.  Some women experience mild depression and mood swings as they are adjusting to their new life, which is perfectly normal and is referred to as the “baby blues.”  As your hormones level out after birth, you will begin to feel and act like your old self.

If your feelings have not changed or have gotten worse after a couple of weeks, it is important to talk with your midwife or health care provider.  Postpartum depression is a more serious problem that may occur months after birth and may include thoughts about your inability to care for your newborn or even suicide.

sad mother holding baby

Some signs and symptoms of postpartum depression include:

  • Feeling of being overwhelmed, worthless, hopeless, and guilty
  • Feeling irritated, angry, and having no patience
  • Feeling disconnected, not able to concentrate or focus
  • Lack of interest in your baby, negative feelings towards your baby, and worrying about hurting your baby
  • Lack of concern for yourself, feeling nothing, emptiness, sadness, numbness
  • Lack of pleasure, energy, and motivation
  • Changes in appetite, weight, and sleep patterns
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

What you can do to help yourself:

  • Stay healthy and fit by sleeping, resting, and eating healthy
  • Ask for help from your partner, family, and friends and share your feelings with them
  • Lower your stress – slow down, put the baby in a stroller and go for a walk, breathe some fresh air
  • Talk to your midwife or doctor if your feelings last more than a week or two

What your partner and family can do to help:

  • Be there and listen to you
  • Take care of him or herself
  • Help with taking care of your home and parenting
  • Enlist family and friends to help around the house, cook meals, and take care of the baby and children

Ask your midwife or health care provider for help if you are feeling overwhelmed.  For further information on postpartum depression, please visit the following resources:

http://www.postpartum.net/learn-more/depression-during-pregnancy-postpartum/
http://www.helpguide.org/mental/postpartum_depression.htm
http://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/postpartum-depression.aspx