Signs of Postpartum Depression - Are you experiencing these symptoms?

Health 101

Signs of Postpartum Depression – Are you experiencing these symptoms?

Having a baby is life changing. It can be a very exciting and emotional time for parents, full of restless nights and new experiences. Postpartum depression can take away the excitement for some mothers. “Postpartum” is another word for the period of time shortly after you have your baby. If you suffer from postpartum depression, you may feel extreme sadness, exhaustion and anxiety.

These feelings may get in the way of caring for your baby. Postpartum depression can affect any woman at any age. It also affects women of any race, ethnicity or economic status.


Is it the “baby blues” or postpartum depression?

It’s normal for mothers to experience the “baby blues.” These include feelings of worry, unhappiness and fatigue. It takes a lot of work to care for a baby, so it’s normal for mothers to be worried and tired. The “baby blues” affects up to 80 percent of mothers. Feelings are usually somewhat mild, last a week or two, and go away on their own.

With postpartum depression, feelings of sadness and anxiety can be extreme and might interfere with your ability to care for yourself or your family. Sometimes, you might feel too exhausted to get out of bed to care for your new baby. Because of this, postpartum depression usually requires treatment. Postpartum depression occurs in nearly 15 percent of births and may begin shortly before or any time after childbirth. Usually, the symptoms begin between a week and a month after delivery.


How to know if you have postpartum depression?

It’s normal to feel mixed emotions after having a baby. A mother’s mood can swing for various reasons, including hormonal changes and lack of sleep. However, there are more serious signs to look out for when it comes to postpartum depression.

The following are some of the more common symptoms you may experience if you have postpartum depression:

  • Feeling sad, hopeless, empty or overwhelmed
  • Crying more often than usual or for no apparent reason
  • Worrying or feeling overly anxious
  • Having trouble bonding or forming an emotional attachment with your baby
  • Constantly doubting your ability to care for your baby
  • Thinking about harming yourself or your baby
  • Feeling moody, irritable or restless
  • Oversleeping or being unable to sleep even when your baby is asleep
  • Having trouble concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
  • Feeling anger or rage
  • Losing interest in activities that are usually enjoyable
  • Suffering from physical aches and pains, including frequent headaches, stomach problems, and muscle pain
  • Eating too little or too much
  • Withdrawing from or avoiding friends and family


Are some women more likely to experience postpartum depression?

You may have a greater risk for developing postpartum depression if you have one or more risk factors, such as:

  • Depression during or after a previous pregnancy
  • Previous experience with depression or bipolar disorder at another time in your life
  • A family member who has been diagnosed with depression or other mental illness
  • A stressful life event during pregnancy or shortly after giving birth, such as job loss, death of a loved one, domestic violence, or personal illness
  • Medical complications during childbirth, including premature delivery or having a baby with medical problems
  • Mixed feelings about the pregnancy, whether it was planned or unplanned
  • A lack of strong emotional support from her spouse, partner, family or friends
  • Alcohol or other drug abuse problems.

It’s also important to visit your doctor if you think you may be suffering from postpartum depression. There are treatment options that can help you start to feel better. Your OB/GYN can help get you the right treatment if you need it. Make sure you go to your postpartum appointment to talk to them about your symptoms. In the meantime, you can reach out to Gateway’s care management team to discuss what other resources might be available to you. Please call them at 1-800-392-1147.



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