Postpartum depression (PPD) is a medical condition that causes severe, long-lasting negative emotions or thoughts in the months after the birth of your baby.
- The feelings associated with PPD can be so strong that you find yourself unable to do normal daily tasks like caring for yourself & your baby.
- PPD symptoms usually appear between 1 – 3 weeks after your baby is born. PPD may begin up to a year after giving birth.
- In some cases, it may start before you give birth, while you are still pregnant.
- With PPD, your feelings of sadness & emptiness linger, typically lasting more than 2 weeks. This condition is not a character flaw or a sign of weakness.
- PPD is a common complication of childbirth.
- PPD affects 10 – 15% of women after giving birth. It’s common.
- PPD can interfere with your day-to-day life & prevents you from enjoying motherhood & bonding with your baby.
- If you have symptoms of PPD, please know that you are not alone & there is help available.
- Please talk to your pediatrician for a referral, or call a counselor, or psychologist & arrange a meeting.
- With psychotherapy and/or medication you can recover and feel better.
- There are antidepressants that are compatible with breastfeeding, however it may take 6 – 8 weeks to see improvement.
Risk factors for antepartum & postpartum depression.
All of the factors listed below put you at a higher risk for developing these illnesses.
- If you have any of these, please discuss them with your medical provider so that you can plan ahead for care should you need it.
- A personal or family history of depression, anxiety, or postpartum depression
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD or PMS)
- Inadequate support in caring for the baby
- Financial stress
- Marital stress
- Complications in pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding
- A major recent life event: loss, house move, job loss
- Mothers of multiples
- Mothers whose infants are in Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU)
- Mothers who’ve gone through infertility treatments
- Women with a thyroid imbalance
- Women with any form of diabetes (type 1, type 2 or gestational)
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression (PPD):
- Feelings of hopelessness & despair
- Feeling depressed or having mood swings, & crying a lot
- Excessive irritability & anger
- Having trouble bonding with your baby, or having no interest in your baby
- Feeling that you are not a good mother
- Loss of appetite or eating too much
- Inability to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much
- Early morning awakening
- Overwhelming fatigue & loss of energy
- Having trouble focusing or making decisions
- Finding it difficult to handle everyday tasks
- Withdrawing from loved ones
- Less interest in activities you used to enjoy
- Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt, or inadequacy
- Severe anxiety or having panic attacks
- Experiencing headaches or stomach problems
- Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.
*** PLEASE call your pediatrician or obstetrician to discuss how you feel & get help.
You can find more information about perinatal depression at the NIH.gov website at https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/perinatal-depression/index.shtml