What is postpartum depression?
- Postpartum depression is a serious illness that can occur in the first few months after childbirth. It also can happen after miscarriage and stillbirth.
- Postpartum depression can make you feel very sad, hopeless, and worthless. You may have trouble caring for and bonding with your baby.
- Postpartum depression is not the "baby blues," which usually go away within a couple of weeks. The symptoms of postpartum depression can last for months.
- Baby blues: 70 to 85 percent of all new mothers.
- PPD: 25% of new mothers
What causes it?
- Rapid changes in hormones
- Demands in caring for a baby
- Personal or family history of depression or anxiety before pregnancy
- Lack of support in caring for a new baby
- Stressful life events: divorce or separation, marital stress, or job change
Signs to watch for -- Knowing what PPD looks like is the first step.
- Restlessness / Irritability
- Excessive crying
- Exhaustion/ Difficulty sleeping
- Feeling overwhelmed or guilty
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Lack of interest in enjoyable activities
How is it diagnosed?
- Your doctor will do a physical exam and ask about your symptoms.
- Be sure to tell your doctor about any feelings of baby blues at your first checkup after the baby is
Why don’t moms seek help for postpartum depression?
- May not know they have it
- Trying to be Supermom
How to help yourself?
- Rest / sleep while baby sleeps—at night specifically.
- Beware of visitors who keep you from sleep
- Turn off the phone and put a sign on the door when you are napping.
- Take good care of your body - gentle exercises, eat healthy foods, water.
- Take the baby out for a walk.
- Ask for help with chores or errands
- Join a support group for new parents
How to help a new mom?
Offer help – cooking, shopping, cleaning, other household chores, and errands.
Dr. Van Horn-Gatlin says to mothers dealing with this that, above all, they are not alone.