Call 911 or other emergency services if you think you cannot keep from harming
yourself, your baby, or another person. You can also call the national suicide
hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or the National Child
Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453).
Postpartum depression (PPD) is a complex mix of physical, emotional, and behavioral changes that happen in a woman after giving birth. According to the DSM IV, a manual used to diagnose mental disorders, PPD is a form of major depression that has its onset within four weeks after delivery. The diagnosis of postpartum depression is based not only on the length of time between delivery and onset, but also on the severity of the depression
You are not having symptoms of
postpartum depression (listed below), but you have
hallucinations involving smell, touch, hearing, or
sight or have thoughts that may not be based in reality (delusions). Examples of delusions are fears that
someone is watching you, stealing from you, or reading your mind.
You have had any symptoms of
depression for longer than 2 weeks. You don't necessarily have all possible
symptoms when you have depression. Call sooner rather than later, before your
condition gets worse.
Symptoms of postpartum depression include:
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.
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 tend to be
fearful thoughts, rather than urges to harm.
If your symptoms are new and not severe, you can
wait up to 2 weeks to see if they will go away. Otherwise, call your doctor as
soon as you notice symptoms. The earlier you are treated, the more quickly you
will recover and the less your baby's development will be affected by your
Who To See
obstetrician may be the first doctor to note and
diagnose PPD. This is one of many reasons why it's important to have a medical
check 3 to 6 weeks after childbirth. Treatment for PPD ideally involves both
medicine and some form of professional counseling. To effectively treat
depression, it's important that you and your counselor have a comfortable
Diagnosis and medication management of postpartum
depression can be provided by a: