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Winter Babies and Postpartum Depression

When do the 'baby blues' become postpartum depression?

When Depression Persists in Winter: Try a Little Light

If the season is really weighing you down, you might benefit from physician-prescribed light therapy.

"Light box therapy has been studied for use in pregnancy-related depression, and it's a reasonable option," says Dorothy Sit, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "Women who may want to opt for non-drug options based on personal preferences should ask their doctor about light therapy."

"Whenever we see exacerbation of an otherwise nonseasonal depression in winter, light therapy can be extremely helpful," notes Michael Terman, PhD, director of the Center for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms at Columbia University Medical Center. He has created personalized online guidelines for self-administration of light therapy, available online.

If you do have postpartum depression, it's important to know that you're not alone and there's nothing "wrong" with you, says Stotland.

"People tend to think you're ungrateful when you have postpartum depression, because you have this healthy baby," she says. "It's a wonderful thing to have a healthy baby, but when you have depression, you don't feel fortunate, especially when the world is telling you how happy you should be."

Seeking help, she says, can allow you to enjoy yourself and your baby the way you always wanted to.

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Reviewed on October 17, 2008

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