Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression (PPD) is not the same as the baby blues, those feelings of worry and low energy that often fade in five days to two weeks after birth. PPD is longer lasting and more serious.

  • PPD can be very damaging, and it can last up to a year after the baby is born.
  • About 10% of women get PPD.
  • These feelings most often go away with care and counseling.


  • Problems performing normal tasks
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Feeling hopeless, sad, tired or restless for more than two weeks
  • Worry that they'll harm their baby

Along with the sadness, women with PPD may also suffer from:

  • Headaches
  • Chest pain
  • Heart palpitations
  • Hyperventilation (breathing that is too fast)
  • Unusual weight loss or weight gain

What causes postpartum depression?

  • Experts don't fully know what causes depression after giving birth.
  • Most believe it may have to do with your physical shape and or how you feel about yourself. Also, if you're going through other stressful events, like relationship issues or money problems.

Chances of PPD

  • •There's a greater chance of you having PPD if you:
    • Have a history of depression before giving birth
    • Have very bad bouts of premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
    • Do not have a partner, or your partner is not there or not supportive
    • Lost a close friend or family member not long ago
    • Moved not long ago

What you can do

  • Talk with your doctor about feelings of great sadness and get care
  • Plan visits with family and friends after the baby is born
    • They can keep you company, help with meals or care for your newborn while you rest
    • But don't do too much - too many visitors will only tire you and your new baby
  • Partners should take as much time off work as they can
  • They can share the first days of your baby's life, lend a hand and give you breaks
  • If your mother, mother-in-law or other relatives offer to help out, take them up on it, unless such a visit would only add to your feeling out of control
  • If you're single and you don't have relatives or friends you can call on, think about joining a support group for pregnant moms
  • Check with hospitals, public-health clinics or health-care organizations near you to find out when they meet

More you can do

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Be sure to nap when the baby naps
  • Working out has been known to lift moods
  • If you have trouble nursing, ask your doctor to suggest a lactation advisor who can help
  • Be sure to eat regularly and well
  • Make time just for you and your partner
  • Give yourself some special care - get a haircut, a massage or a manicure

Call your practitioner right away if you find yourself overwhelmed by this sadness or if your feelings last for more than two weeks.

If signs last and your doctor doesn't seem to be able to help you, seek a second point of view. It could be that you have some other health problem causing your depression and you may need specialized care.

Finally, go easy on yourself.

Parenting is a skill like any other, and you will learn all you need to know. But it will take time. You may have to put off other things for now. You and your baby may be better off as a result.

[references] Copyright © 2010 LimeHealth

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