Understanding Postpartum Depression -- the Basics
What is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression (PPD) is temporary depression related to pregnancy and childbirth. It comes in two forms: early onset, commonly referred to as the "baby blues," and late onset. The early onset type is mild and may affect as many as 80% of women after they deliver. It starts after delivery and usually resolves within a couple of weeks without medical treatment. The later onset form is what most people think of as postpartum depression. This more severe form is usually recognized several weeks after delivery. Overall, it affects about 10%-16% of women.
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 doctor know if you experience "blues" that last longer than two weeks.