Postpartum Depression (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Postpartum blues and depression
Over half of all women have some mood-related symptoms during the first 2 weeks after childbirth. Most women with postpartum blues, or "baby blues," find that their mood swings, insomnia, overwhelmed feelings, and agitation go away within 2 weeks. But some women have longer-lasting postpartum depression (PPD) in the weeks to months after childbirth. The hormone changes and grief following miscarriage and stillbirth also trigger PPD in many women.1
Postpartum depression makes it hard for you to function well, including caring for and bonding with your baby. Babies of depressed mothers tend to be poorly attached to their mothers and to be slower in behavior, language, and mental development.1
Prompt PPD treatment is important for both you and your baby. The earlier you are treated, the more quickly you will recover, the less your chances of repeat depression, and the less your baby's development will be affected by your condition.
In rare cases (up to 1 out of 500), dangerous postpartum psychosis symptoms—such as bizarre behavior, sight-, smell-, hearing-, or touch-related hallucinations, feeling detached from others and reality, and urges to hurt oneself or others—can suddenly occur within the first 3 postpartum weeks, as soon as 1 to 2 days after childbirth.1 These symptoms tend to be more severe than those of psychosis unrelated to childbirth and can trigger life-threatening behaviors without warning. Postpartum psychosis is more likely to affect women who have bipolar disorder or have had postpartum psychosis before.1
Postpartum psychosis is considered an emergency requiring immediate medical treatment and follow-up care. Often, psychotic symptoms that have been successfully treated can still be followed by postpartum depression symptoms that require further treatment.
For more information about what increases your chances of having postpartum depression and psychosis and of having them after more than one pregnancy, see the What Increases Your Risk section of this topic.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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