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Postpartum Depression - Symptoms

The two most common symptoms of depression are:

  • Feeling sad or hopeless nearly every day.
  • Losing interest in or not getting pleasure from most daily activities, and feeling this way nearly every day.

An especially serious symptom of depression is thinking about death and suicide. Some women with postpartum depression have fleeting, frightening thoughts of harming their babies.

Recommended Related to Postpartum Depression

Understanding Postpartum Depression -- Prevention

Because postpartum depression (PPD) may be related to fluctuation of hormones after childbirth, prevention may not be possible. However, several approaches may help guard against the condition. One of the best things to do is learn as much as you can about what to expect physically and psychologically during pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood. This may help you develop realistic expectations for yourself and your baby. Take a childbirth education class. Also, talk to other pregnant women and new...

Read the Understanding Postpartum Depression -- Prevention article > >

Nearly every day, you may also:

  • Lose or gain weight. You may also feel like eating more or less than usual.
  • Sleep too much or not enough. You may also have trouble sleeping, even when your baby is sleeping.
  • Feel restless and not be able to sit still, or you may sit quietly and feel that moving takes great effort. Others can easily see this behavior.
  • Feel unusually tired or as if you have no energy.
  • Feel unworthy or guilty. You may have low self-esteem and worry that people don't like you.
  • Find it hard to focus, remember things, or make decisions. You may feel anxious or worried about things.

Are you depressed?

If you have at least five of the above symptoms for 2 weeks or longer, and one of the symptoms is either sadness or loss of interest, you may have depression and may need treatment.

Even if you have fewer symptoms, you may still be depressed and may benefit from treatment. No matter how many symptoms you have, it's important to see your doctor. The sooner you get treatment, the better your chance for a quick and full recovery.

If you think you may have 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 who have bipolar disorder or a history of postpartum psychosis. Symptoms, which usually start during the first 3 weeks (as soon as 1 to 2 days) after childbirth, include:

  • 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 person.
  • Drastically changing moods and bizarre behavior.
  • Extreme agitation or restlessness.
  • Hallucinations. These often involve sight, smell, hearing, or touch.
  • Delusional thinking that isn't based in reality.

Postpartum psychosis is considered an emergency requiring immediate medical treatment. If you have any psychotic symptoms, seek emergency help right away. Until you tell your doctor and get treatment, you are at high risk of suddenly harming yourself or your baby.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 16, 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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