You just had a baby. Everyone expects you to be happy all the time, but maybe you find yourself struggling instead. First of all, you and nearly half of all women experience some degree of “baby blues” or depression after delivery, so you are definitely not alone.
Baby blues usually starts three to 10 days after delivery and lasts two to 14 days. The symptoms often improve with simple measures such as eating healthy, sleeping more, and obtaining support from family and friends. Sometimes the symptoms worsen and psychiatric evaluation is required.
Postpartum depression, however, describes major depression that 10 to 15 percent of women experience during the postpartum period. It usually begins during the first month after delivery, but can occur anytime within the first year after delivery. Treatment may require community support services, psychiatric counseling or antidepressant medications.
It can be difficult to diagnose depression given changes in routine after delivery of your newborn. But it’s essential to get help – for you and your baby.
Symptoms of depression include:
- Changes in sleep
- Loss of interest in activities/decreased libido
- Guilt or feeling worthless
- Decreased energy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Decreased appetite
- Anxiety or lethargy
- Preoccupation with death/suicide
Where to get help:
- Your OB/GYN or primary care provider
- Walk-in clinic or emergency room
- Psychology/psychiatry clinic (often need a referral)
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-TALK