Postpartum Depression (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Postpartum depression (PPD) seems to be triggered by the sudden hormone changes that happen after childbirth. These hormonal changes most commonly lead to postpartum depression when paired with risk factors such as previous depression (including bipolar disorder), poor support from your partner, friends, and family, or a high level of stress.1
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 baby.2
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.
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:
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), include:1, 3
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 your baby.
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