Many women experience symptoms of the “baby blues” after childbirth, which can include frequent mood swings, crying for no reason, feeling anxious, restless, irritable or angry, or having trouble sleeping or eating. The “baby blues” are caused, in part, by rapid hormone changes within your body after giving birth. Fatigue and the demands of caring for your new baby can also contribute. Symptoms usually begin 2-3 days after delivery and last 2-3 weeks; if symptoms last longer or seem overwhelming, you may be experiencing postpartum depression.
Postpartum Depression (PPD) is more serious than the baby blues.
Symptoms of postpartum depression can start anytime during pregnancy or the first year after the baby’s birth. They differ for everyone, and might include:
- Sadness or crying
- Feelings of anger, irritability, or restlessness
- Constant worry or feeling that something bad is going to happen
- Lack of interest in the baby or difficulty bonding with the baby
- Changes in appetite or sleep
- Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, or guilt
- Loss of interest, joy, or pleasure in the things you used to enjoy
- Thoughts of harming the baby or yourself
Postpartum Depression is not the result of something you did or did not do.
If you are experiencing these feelings, you are not alone! It is estimated that 1 out of 7 women experience postpartum depression in the first year after giving birth. It is not uncommon for fathers, partners, or other caregivers to experience symptoms, as well. Emotional changes during pregnancy are not limited to depression. Other emotions women may experience include anxiety, obsessive tendencies, post-traumatic stress related to their pregnancy or delivery, and mood changes related to bipolar disorder.
If you are having thoughts of harming yourself or baby, please call your doctor or 911 immediately.
Thankfully, postpartum depression can be treated successfully. Treatment options vary depending on the severity of symptoms but can include self-care strategies, counseling, and/or medication. Asking for help can be difficult, but if you are concerned you or your significant other may have postpartum depression we encourage you to reach out to your or your baby’s health care provider; they will help you determine the best next step. Our Healthy Family Program at the Youth Clinic was designed to help families who may be experiencing postpartum depression. Our goal is to help you access support within the community (health care providers, mental health care providers, support groups, etc.), as well as to provide one on one support for you as you care for your baby.