Coping with Postpartum Depression

If you’re feeling anxious or sad after baby, it could just be the “baby blues,” but 10 to 20 percent of new moms experience postpartum depression. Learn about the symptoms of PPD and how it can be treated. 

After giving birth, many women experience a week or two of “baby blues,” marked by mood swings, feelings of ambivalence toward motherhood, mild depression, and bouts of unexplainable crying. These blues may be a result of hormonal changes, of the way labor, delivery, and motherhood are treated in today’s society, or of the isolation new mothers often feel. Certainly lack of sleep plays a role, too. In some women, as many as 10-20 percents of new mothers, the baby blues turns into clinical postpartum depression, or PPD. In an even smaller number of women, this can become a major psychological disturbance, called postpartum psychosis.

What is Postpartum Depression?

While the baby blues can last from a few days to a few weeks and can include symptoms such as crying spells, anxiety, inability to sleep, and quick fluctuations in mood, PPD lingers for much longer and rarely seems to lift. Joel Evans, M.D., coauthor of The Whole Pregnancy Handbook (Gotham), explains that if you experienced depression during your pregnancy or have suffered from PPD after previous pregnancies, you may be at increased risk for PPD.

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