Postpartum Depression 101

Signs of postpartum depression

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By: Jonathan Kistner
Follow me on Twitter @JonAshKis

One of the happiest moments in a woman’s life should be having her baby. The term,  Joys of Motherhood, exists for a reason, right? Though bringing home a new baby can usher in many wonderful experiences, it can also be an extremely stressful time.

Research shows that as many as 85% of mothers may experience the postpartum blues a few days or weeks after giving birth. The baby blues are considered a mild, brief stint of depression that's likely to be short term.

Another scary statistic is that as many as 20% of new moms experience a more severe form of depression. Postpartum Depression (or PPD) is more than the blues. It can interfere with daily life. In rare cases, women may develop postpartum psychosis.

Women who have had the baby blues are also more susceptible to developing full-blown postpartum depression. Symptoms of PPD include intense feelings of despair, sadness, irritability and anxiety. But unlike the baby blues, these symptoms may linger for months. There is no question that PPD affects a woman's ability to function, especially when are unable to connect to those around them and most importantly their newborn. Left untreated, symptoms can worsen.  

There are numerous symptoms of PPD. I’ve narrowed down the list to those which tend to be most common. For a full list, click here.

  • Change in appetite
  • Feeling unable to love the baby or your family
  • Anger toward the baby, your partner, or other family members
  • Fear of harming your baby; these thoughts may be obsessive, and you may be afraid to be left alone in the house with your baby.
  • Feelings of doubt, guilt, helplessness, hopelessness, or restlessness
  • Lethargy or extreme fatigue
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or other usual activities
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Frequent calls to the pediatrician with an inability to be reassured
  • Recurrent thoughts of death, which may include thinking about or even planning suicide
  • Obsessive-compulsive thoughts and behaviors that are intrusive

If you feel you like you may be at risk for Postpartum Depression, please talk to your primary care doctor or OBGYN. You can also take this quiz to see if you're exhibiting any signs.

Even if you are unsure whether you're at risk of PPD, it's better to reach out for assistance just to make sure everything's okay.

Here is a complete list of specialists who may be able to help you. And please, remember that there's hope and help out there.

The information contained on this site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician and/or lactation consultant. 

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