Many women get the "baby blues" during the first few days after childbirth. You may lose sleep, feel irritable, and cry easily. You may feel happy one minute and sad the next. Hormone changes are one cause of these emotional changes. Also, the demands of a new baby, along with visits from relatives or other family needs, add to a mother's stress. The "baby blues" often peak around the fourth day. Then they ease up in less than 2 weeks.
If your moodiness or anxiety lasts for more than 2 weeks, or if you feel like life is not worth living, you may have postpartum depression. This is different for each mother. Some mothers with serious depression may worry intensely about their infant's well-being. Others may feel distant from their child. Some mothers might even feel that they might harm their baby. A mother may have signs of paranoia, wondering if someone is watching her.
Depression is not a sign of weakness. It is a medical condition that requires treatment. Medicine and counselling often work well to reduce depression. Talk to your doctor about taking antidepressant medicine while breastfeeding.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
With all the changes in your life, you may not know if you are depressed. Pregnancy sometimes causes changes in how you feel that are similar to the symptoms of depression.
Symptoms of depression include:
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:
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Current as of: May 12, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & A. Evan Eyler, MD, MPH - Family Medicine, Psychiatry
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