Postpartum Depression - Symptoms
Postpartum blues. A
certain amount of
insomnia, irritability, tears, overwhelmed feelings,
and mood swings are normal during the first days after childbirth. These "baby
blues" usually peak around the fourth postpartum day and subside in less than 2
weeks, when hormonal changes have settled down. If you have postpartum blues
after childbirth, you're not alone-more than half of women have temporary mild
symptoms of depression mixed with feelings of happiness after having a
Be sure to report any feelings of
postpartum blues to your doctor at your first postpartum checkup, so he or she
can follow up with you.
Postpartum depression (PPD). Symptoms of
postpartum depression can follow postpartum blues.
They can feel like more of the same or can feel worse than before. Postpartum
depression can also happen months after childbirth or pregnancy loss. In some
cases, symptoms peak after slowly building for 3 or 4 months. Possible PPD
symptoms require evaluation by a doctor.
If you have postpartum
depression, you have had five or more depressive symptoms (including one of the
first two listed below) for most of the past 2 weeks, including:1, 2
- Depressed mood-tearfulness, hopelessness, and
feeling empty inside, with or without severe
- Loss of pleasure in either all
or almost all of your daily activities.
- Appetite and weight
change-usually a drop in appetite and weight but sometimes the
Sleep problems-usually trouble with sleeping, even when
your baby is sleeping.
- Noticeable change in how you walk and
talk-usually restlessness, but sometimes sluggishness.
fatigue or loss of energy.
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, with
no reasonable cause.
- Difficulty concentrating and making
- Thoughts about death or suicide. Some women with PPD
have fleeting, frightening thoughts of harming their babies. These thoughts
tend to be fearful thoughts, rather than urges to harm.
Early treatment of PPD is important for both you and your
baby. If you think
you may have postpartum depression, take a short quiz to check your symptoms:
Interactive Tool: Are You Depressed?
Postpartum psychosis. This severe condition is most likely to affect women with
bipolar disorder or a history of
postpartum psychosis. Symptoms, which usually develop
during the first 3 postpartum weeks (as soon as 1 to 2 days after childbirth),
- Feeling removed from your baby, other people,
and your surroundings (depersonalization).
- Disturbed sleep, even
when your baby is sleeping.
- Extremely confused and disorganized
thinking, increasing your risk of harming yourself, your baby, or another
- Drastically changing moods and
- Extreme agitation or restlessness.
hallucinations, often involving sight, smell, hearing,
Delusional thinking that isn't based in
Postpartum psychosis is considered an emergency requiring
immediate medical treatment. If you have any psychotic symptoms,
seek emergency help immediately. Until you tell your
doctor and get treatment, you are at high risk of suddenly harming yourself or