Understanding Postpartum Depression -- the Basics
What Is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression (PPD) is a form of clinical depression related to pregnancy and childbirth. PPD is a severe form of depression (major depression) that occurs within the first 4 weeks after delivery, affecting about 15% of women. By contrast, a milder condition called the "baby blues" occurs usually within the first week of delivery, affecting up to 80% of women, and usually resolving without the need for any medical or psychiatric treatment.
Symptoms of the "baby blues" include sadness, anxiety, tearfulness, and trouble sleeping. These symptoms usually appear within several days of delivery and go away 10 to 12 days after the birth. Usually the only treatment needed is reassurance and some help with household chores and care of the baby. About 20% of women who have postpartum blues will develop more lasting depression. It is very important to let your health care provider know if you experience "blues" that last longer than two weeks.