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What are the Symptoms of Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression

Postpartum depression should not be ignored.

The birth of a baby can trigger a jumble of powerful emotions in a new mother. From the excitement and joy of a new baby to the fear and anxiety that you won’t be a good parent. Being overloaded by these emotions can leave you feeling something no one wants to experience—depression. Many new mothers experience a condition known as the “baby blues”. This condition lasts for a week or two but is soon overcome. But for some, these side effects can be even more severe and long-lasting and turn into postpartum depression. Let’s take a look at the symptoms of postpartum depression and how it can be helped.

Symptoms of Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is often mistaken for the “baby blues” at first but there are some key differences in the two conditions. The symptoms of postpartum depression are often much more intense and tend to last longer. Symptoms usually develop within the first few weeks of giving birth but may begin later up to six months after birth. Postpartum depression symptoms include:
  • Depressed mood or severe mood swings
  • Excessive crying
  • Difficulty bonding with the child
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Loss of appetite or eating more than usual
  • Inability to sleep or sleeping too much
  • Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy
  • Reduced interest and pleasure in activities
  • Intense irritability and anger
  • Feelings of worthlessness, shame, inadequacy, or guilt
  • Fear of not being a good mother
  • Severe anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
  • Thoughts of self-harm or harming your baby
  • Diminished ability to concentrate, make decisions, or think clearly.
If left untreated, postpartum depression can last for months or longer.

Seeking Help

It is important to start listing all of your symptoms as they occur in order for your doctor to be able to send you to the right specialist for help. Postpartum depression is often treated with psychotherapy, also called mental health counseling; medications; or a mixture of both. These treatments often involve talking to a specialist and can help the patient feel better gradually. Psychotherapy helps a patient talk through their concerns with a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist. Through therapy, the patient will learn to cope with her feelings and solve the problems set before them. She will also learn to set realistic goals and how to respond to situations in a positive way. Medications like antidepressants cannot be taken during breast-feeding but it could enter the baby through the milk. However, some medications can be used during nursing with very little side effects for the baby. These medications can help stabilize your moods and help you to start to feel normal again. It is important to continue treatment even after you begin to feel better as postpartum depression could turn into chronic depression if it is not treated thoroughly. For more information on working with us, call Family Service Foundation today!

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Family Service Foundation, Inc. has been serving the greater Maryland area since 1936. This nonprofit organization helps Maryland residents across a span of different areas such as mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuse, and provides interpretation for deaf and deaf-blind individuals. To learn more about cerebral palsy or other developmental disabilitiesvisit here. Do you “Follow” and “Like?” Be sure to stay active on our official pages on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, and Pinterest today!