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Postpartum Depression
Having a baby is usually one of the biggest and most exciting events in a women's life. While caring for a new baby can be joyful and rewarding, it can also be hard and stressful at times. There are many physical and emotional changes that can happen to you after delivery.

These changes can leave some new mothers feeling sad, anxious, afraid, or confused. These feelings are generally referred to as “baby blues”.

When these feelings do not go away within a week or two postpartum, or the symptoms get worse, a woman may have postpartum depression.

If you are concerned about the severity of these feelings or if these feelings do not go away after a week or two, you need to contact your provider. Prompt treatment can help you return to normal soon. Please call 614-268-8800 to schedule an appointment to discuss any of these issues.

What is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression is more serious than the “baby blues” and occurs in 10% to 20% of new mothers within the first 3 to 6 months postpartum, but may not affect the mother until up to a year after childbirth. Postpartum depression can happen after the birth of any child, not just the first child. Symptoms of postpartum depression are similar to baby blues, but are stronger:
  • Loss of interest in normal activities
  • Loss of appetite
  • A hard time falling asleep or staying asleep
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Over concern for baby or none at all
  • Increased crying or tearfulness
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling like you're not good enough
  • Impaired concentration or memory
  • Feeling worthless, hopeless or overly guilty
  • Thoughts about hurting yourself or your baby
If you exhibit any of these symptoms or think that you may have postpartum depression, you need to talk with you health care provider right away. Postpartum depression can be a serious condition, however it can be treated with medication and counseling. If postpartum depression is left untreated, symptoms can get worse and last for longer than a year.

Postpartum Psychosis
About 0.1% of women are affected by a rare form of postpartum depression called postpartum psychosis. It usually affects the mother between 3 and 14 days after delivery. Although this condition is rare, it is extremely serious and requires immediate medical attention. Women with postpartum psychosis have delusions and hallucinations that focus on hurting themselves or their babies. Women with signs and symptoms of postpartum psychosis need immediate evaluation and treatment.

What causes postpartum depression?
No one knows for sure what causes postpartum depression, but may be a combination of biological, psychological, and/or social. The symptoms however may be triggered by hormonal changes in a woman’s body during the postpartum period.

Ways You Can Help Yourself Cope
There are things that you can do to help yourself get through this difficult time in your life.
  • Rest! Always try to nap when the baby naps.
  • You're not expected to be a “supermom”. Stop putting pressure on yourself to do everything; be realistic and ask other people to help.
  • Find someone to talk to and tell them how you’re feeling
  • Do not spend a lot of time alone. Get dressed and try to get outdoors everyday to take a walk or run an errand.
  • Try and do something for yourself everyday (reading, exercising, taking a bath or meditating).
  • Spend time alone with your husband or partner.
  • Talk with your health care provider about how you feel and medical treatment.
Conclusion
Your postpartum period may be filled with various different emotions. Just remember that there will be a period of adjustment as a new mother and it is normal to feel sadness, fear, anger and/or anxiety after having your baby. This does not mean that you have failed as a mother.

However, if these feelings do not go away after a week or two, you need to contact your provider about postpartum depression. Prompt treatment can help you return to normal soon. Please call 614-268-8800 to schedule an appointment to discuss any of these issues.

For More Information
Go the Postpartum.net
Postpartum Support International (PSI)
614-451-0522
(Central Ohio Support Group)
Go to PostpartumDads.org
Postpartum Dads
Go to PEP Postpartum Distress page
Postpartum Education for Parents
805-564-3888
Go to beyondtheblues.com
Beyond the Blues


WHEN TO CALL
  • If the symptoms of the “baby blues” persist after the second week postpartum or become worse.
  • If you have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby.
  • If you need to discuss your concerns with your provider.
 
For general information or questions, please email us. Please note: Clinical questions cannot be answered via email due to the current HIPAA Regulations. Notice: All pages and their content are provided as information only. This is not a substitute for medical care or your doctor's attention. Please seek the advice of your doctor.
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