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Postpartum Depression Health Center

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Depression: Managing Postpartum Depression

If you have the "baby blues" after childbirth, you're not alone—about half of women have a few days of mild depression after having a baby. However unsettling, a certain amount of insomnia, irritability, tears, overwhelmed feelings, and mood swings are normal. Baby blues usually peak around the fourth postpartum day and subside in less than 2 weeks, when hormonal changes have settled down. But you can have bouts of baby blues throughout your baby's first year.

If your depressed feelings have lasted more than 2 weeks, your body isn't recovering from childbirth as expected. Postpartum depression:

  • Is a serious medical condition that can be prolonged and disabling without treatment and can affect a baby's development.
  • Is best treated with counseling and an antidepressant medicine.
  • Can further improve when you take some home treatment measures.

To prevent serious problems for you and your baby, work with your doctor now to treat your symptoms.

If you are having thoughts of hurting yourself, your baby, or anyone else, see your doctor immediately or call 911 for emergency medical care.

how.gif  How is postpartum depression treated?

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Other Works Consulted

  • Cunningham FG, et al. (2010). Psychiatric disorders section of neurological and psychiatric disorders. In Williams Obstetrics, 23rd ed., pp. 1175–1184. New York: McGraw-Hill.

  • O'Hara MW, Segre LS (2008). Psychologic disorders of pregnancy and the postpartum period. In RS Gibbs et al., eds., Danforth's Obstetrics and Gynecology, 10th ed., pp. 504–514. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Patrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
Current as of March 8, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 08, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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