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Postpartum Depression - Topic Overview

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If you think you may have postpartum depression, take a short quiz to check your symptoms:

Interactive Tool: Are You Depressed?

A woman who has postpartum psychosis may feel cut off from her baby. She may see and hear things that aren't there. Any woman who has postpartum depression can have fleeting thoughts of suicide or of harming her baby. But a woman with postpartum psychosis may feel like she has to act on these thoughts.

If you think you can't keep from hurting yourself, your baby, or someone else, see your doctor right away or call 911 for emergency medical care. For other resources, call:

  • The national suicide hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
  • The National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453).

Your doctor will do a physical exam and ask about your symptoms.

Be sure to tell your doctor about any feelings of baby blues at your first checkup after the baby is born. Your doctor will want to follow up with you to see how you are feeling.

Postpartum depression is treated with counseling and antidepressant medicines. Women with milder depression may be able to get better with counseling alone. But many women need both. Moms can still breast-feed their babies while taking certain antidepressants.

To help yourself get better, make sure you eat well, get some exercise every day, and get as much sleep as possible. Get support from family and friends if you can.

Try not to feel bad about yourself for having this illness. It doesn't mean you're a bad mother. Many women have postpartum depression. It may take time, but you can get better with treatment.

Learning about postpartum depression:

Being diagnosed:

Getting treatment:

Ongoing concerns:

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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