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How To Tell If You Have Postpartum Depression

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Talking To Your Health Care Provider About Your Mental Health

Communicating well with your doctor health care provider can improve your care and help you both make good choices about your health. Read our Tips for Talking With Your Health Care Provider to help prepare for and get the most out of your visit. For additional resources, including questions to ask your doctor, visit the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

What Are The Warning Signs Of Postpartum Depression

June 7, 2019

Warning Signs of Postpartum Depression

For many women, the birth of a child is the happiest moment of their life. However, the period after childbirth can be hectic, sleep-deprived, and confusing. Many women may even feel depressed, sad, or lost. You are not alone – more than 3 million women each year in the United States are diagnosed with postpartum depression. Learn more about the disorder, the symptoms, and how to treat it below:

What is postpartum depression?Postpartum depression is a mental health illness that affects women after giving birth to a child. It is very common, with 10 to 20 percent of new moms in the United States expected to be diagnosed this year alone.  African-American and Hispanic women have a much higher risk of developing it compared to white women. Many new mothers experience “post-baby blues,” which includes sadness, crying, anxiety, and restlessness. These feelings usually go away after one or two weeks, however postpartum depression is longer lasting and more intense.

Postpartum Depression Symptoms

  • Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt, or inadequacy
  • Excessive crying
  • Difficulty bonding with your child
  • Withdrawing from your significant other, family members, or friends
  • Insomnia
  • No interest in activities you used to love
  • Anger
  • Inability to think clearly, concentrate, or make decisions
  • Loss of appetite or eating more than usual
  • Severe anxiety
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your child
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Postpartum Depression And The Brain

One of the most important things for mothers to understand is that this condition is not a character flaw—it has a biological basis in the brain. Hormonal changes shortly after birth can alter the way the brain functions, especially in a region called the limbic system. This area is involved with setting the emotional tone of the mind, promoting bonding, and more. When the activity is too high in the limbic system, it is associated with sadness, hopelessness, helplessness, guilt, and an increase in negative thinking.

Brain SPECT imaging tests show that mothers who have postpartum depression tend to have abnormally high activity in the limbic system. Going to a practitioner who uses functional brain scans to help detect these changes in the brain can help you see that your condition is biological, not moral. It also allows for a more targeted treatment plan to help you get back to thinking of your new baby as a bundle of joy.

At Amen Clinics, we use brain SPECT imaging to identifybrain patterns associated with depression. Our brain imaging work is part of acomprehensive assessment that also looks at the biological, psychological, social,and spiritual factors that can contribute to postpartum depression.

If you’re struggling with symptoms of depression, whether or not you have a newborn, we’re here to help. Call 888-288-9834 today to speak with a specialist or schedule a visit online.

Medicines For The Treatment Of Postpartum Depression Include:

  • Antidepressants:   There are medicines used to treat many forms of depression, including postpartum depression. Some have side effects, such as the dry mouth or weight gain. And some of them aren’t safe to take if you’re breastfeeding. Speak to the provider to find out if one of these medicines is right for you.
  • Strogen:This hormone plays an important part in the menstrual and pregnancy cycles. The level of estrogen in your body drops quickly during childbirth. Your physician can prescribe that you wear an estrogen patch on your skin to replace the estrogen your body has lost.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Ppd

How To Tell If You Have Postpartum Depression (PPD)

You may have PPD if you have five or more signs or symptoms that last longer than 2 weeks. Signs of a condition are things someone else can see or know about you, like you have a rash or you’re coughing. Symptoms are things you feel yourself that others can’t see, like having a sore throat or feeling dizzy. Signs and symptoms of PPD include:

Changes in your feelings:

Changes in your everyday life:

  • Having little interest in things you normally like to do
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Eating a lot more or a lot less than is normal for you
  • Gaining or losing weight
  • Having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Having trouble concentrating or making decisions

Changes in how you think about yourself or your baby:

  • Having trouble bonding with your baby
  • Thinking about hurting yourself or your baby
  • Thinking about suicide

If you think you have signs or symptoms of PPD, call your health care provider right away. There are things you and your provider can do to help you feel better. If you’re worried about hurting yourself or your baby, call emergency services at 911. 

Living With Postpartum Depression

Feeling depressed doesn’t mean that you are a bad person. It doesn’t mean that you did something wrong or that you brought this on yourself. It also does not mean that you don’t love your baby. If you have given birth recently and are feeling sad, blue, anxious, irritable, tired, or have any of the other symptoms of postpartum depression, remember that many other women have had the same experience.

You’re not “losing your mind” or “going crazy.” You shouldn’t feel that you just have to suffer through it. Here are some things you can do that other mothers with postpartum depression have found helpful:

Tip 2: Lean On Others For Help And Support

Human beings are social. Positive social contact relieves stress faster and more efficiently than any other means of stress reduction. Historically and from an evolutionary perspective, new mothers received help from those around them when caring for themselves and their infants after childbirth. In today’s world, new mothers often find themselves alone, exhausted and lonely for supportive adult contact. Here are some ideas for connecting to others:

Make your relationships a priority. When you’re feeling depressed and vulnerable, it’s more important than ever to stay connected to family and friends—even if you’d rather be alone. Isolating yourself will only make your situation feel even bleaker, so make your adult relationships a priority. Let your loved ones know what you need and how you’d like to be supported.

Don’t keep your feelings to yourself. In addition to the practical help your friends and family can provide, they can also serve as a much-needed emotional outlet. Share what you’re experiencing—the good, the bad, and the ugly—with at least one other person, preferably face to face. It doesn’t matter who you talk to, so long as that person is willing to listen without judgment and offer reassurance and support.

Signs Your Wife Has Postpartum Depression

I’ll be honest with you – I’m not a doctor and I’m also not a mom.  Instead, I’m a husband and dad who suffered alongside my wife with undiagnosed postpartum depression.

I’m not going to tell you the symptoms of postpartum depression according to the textbook… Instead, I want to share the signs I saw that all pointed to PPD, even though I didn’t know it at the time.  Side note, my wife read through this post before I published it to give her stamp of approval.

Is Ppd The Same As The Baby Blues

No. PPD lasts longer and is more serious than baby blues. Baby blues are feelings of sadness you may have after having a baby. Baby blues can happen 2 to 3 days after you give birth and can last up to 2 weeks. You may have trouble sleeping, be moody or cranky, and cry a lot. If you have sad feelings that last longer than 2 weeks, tell your provider. She can check to see if you may have PPD.

Tip 4: Make Time For Your Relationship With Your Partner

More than half of all divorces take place after the birth of a child. For many couples, the relationship with their partner is their primary source of emotional expression and social connection. The demands and needs of a new baby can get in the way and fracture this relationship unless couples put some time, energy, and thought into preserving their bond.

Don’t scapegoat. The stress of sleepless nights and caretaking responsibilities can leave you feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. And since you can’t take it out on the baby, it’s all too easy to turn your frustrations on your partner. Instead of finger pointing, remember that you’re in this together. If you tackle parenting challenges as a team, you’ll become an even stronger unit.

Keep the lines of communication open. Many things change following the birth of a baby, including roles and expectations. For many couples, a key source of strain is the post-baby division of household and childcare responsibilities. It’s important to talk about these issues, rather than letting them fester. Don’t assume your partner knows how you feel or what you need.

Carve out some couple’s time. It’s essential to make time for just the two of you when you can reconnect. But don’t put pressure on yourself to be romantic or adventurous . You don’t need to go out on a date to enjoy each other’s company. Even spending 15 or 20 minutes together—undistracted and focused on each other— can make a big difference in your feelings of closeness.

Where Can I Get Help

If you have symptoms of postpartum depression, get help right away. The sooner you get help, the sooner you will feel better. Start by talking to your health care provider . They can:

  • Prescribe medicines to help you.
  • Recommend that you see a psychologist, psychiatrist, or other mental health worker for treatment.
  • Do blood tests to make sure something else isn’t causing your symptoms.

If you don’t have a health care provider, you can get help online at:

If you are thinking about hurting yourself or your baby or if you hear or see things that aren’t there, get help right away.

You can:

  • Go to the nearest emergency room.
  • Contact the National Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the U.S., anytime, about any type of crisis.

How Is Postpartum Psychosis Treated

Several medications are used to treat psychosis. They may be used alone or in combination and include:

  • mood stabilizers
  • antidepressants
  • antipsychotics

These medications can help control your symptoms and keep you stabilized. If they don’t, another option is electroconvulsive therapy . ECT uses electrical currents to trigger chemical changes in the brain. It’s usually well-tolerated and can be effective in treating postpartum psychosis.

Once you’re stabilized, your doctors may recommend that you consult with a therapist who can help you work through your feelings.

Treatment should continue even after you’ve been discharged from the hospital. As you recover, your medications may need some adjusting.

If you also have bipolar or another mental health disorder, you’ll need to continue to follow your treatment plan for that health issue as well.

Postpartum Depression Signs In Fathers

How to Know if You Have Postpartum Depression (with Pictures)

It is possible for any new parents, including dads, whether biological or adoptive, to experience postpartum depression. It is thought that as many as one in 10 new fathers may experience the condition.

Signs of PPD in men are largely the same as those listed above, though there may be a few differences between the sexes. For example, where women may experience sadness and seem withdrawn, their male counterparts may instead experience irritability and aggression. See this resource on for more information.

Many men avoid seeking medical help as they may feel they are failing to fulfil parental responsibilities. However, seeing a doctor is important to manage PPD.

Treating Postpartum Mood Disorders

Being diagnosed with a postpartum mood disorder can put a cloud over what is supposed to be a happy time. But it doesn’t have to — the most important things to know about postpartum mood disorders are that they are highly treatable and not something a new mother needs to feel ashamed about. Even in the most severe cases of postpartum psychosis, one recent  showed that 98 percent of patients got better with treatment. 

Treatment for postpartum depression includes antidepressant medications, which have good evidence of safety in breast-feeding. The gold-standard treatment for postpartum psychosis includes both lithium and an antipsychotic medication. With these medications, it is important for a doctor to monitor the baby to ensure that breast-feeding is safe. 

Is There Any Research About How Long Ppd Usually Lasts

Because PPD can appear anywhere from a couple of weeks to 12 months after birth, there’s no average length of time it lasts. A 2014 review of studies suggests that PPD symptoms improve over time, with many cases of depression resolving 3 to 6 months after they begin.

That said, in that same review, it was clear that plenty of particpants were still dealing with PPD symptoms well beyond the 6-month mark.

Anywhere from 30%–50% percent met criteria for PPD 1 year after giving birth, while a little less than half of the people studied were still reporting depressive symptoms 3 years postpartum.

Youve Done The Research Now How Do You Help Herdont Stop Here

You know that your wife has postpartum depression, but what do you do about it?

How do YOU help her and love her through the valley of depression?

A supporting husband is one of the most powerful weapons against postpartum depression.

In the next article, I’m going to show you exactly how to to be that supporting husband your wife needs.

A big reason that I’m writing these two articles is so that other men like you can learn from my mistakes and skip to the part where you finally start doing the right things that will actually help your wife.

In the next post, we’ll talk about what you can do as her husband to love her and help her recover from her postpartum depression as quickly and effectively as possible.

NEXT >>

Depression During And After Pregnancy Is Common And Treatable

Recent CDC research shows that about 1 in 8 women experience symptoms of postpartum depression. Additionally, a recent analysis by CDCexternal icon found the rate of depression diagnoses at delivery is increasing and it was seven times higher in 2015 than in 2000.

Having a baby is challenging and every woman deserves support. If you are experiencing emotional changes or think that you may be depressed, make an appointment to talk to your health care provider as soon as possible. Most people get better with treatment and getting help is the best thing you can do for you and your baby.

Effective depression treatment can include a combination of medication therapy, counseling, and referrals. is talking to your health care provider. After your visit, make sure to follow-up on all referrals and treatment that he or she suggests. When discussing medications with your provider, let her or him know if you are pregnant, thinking about becoming pregnant, or breastfeeding. You and your provider can decide if taking medicine while pregnant or breastfeeding is right for you. Read Medicine and Pregnancy for more information.

If the situation is potentially life-threatening, call 911.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention LifelineExternalexternal icon at 1-800-273-TALK for free and confidential crisis counseling available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. TTY: Dial 711 then 1-800-273-8255. Online chatExternalexternal icon is also available 24/7.

Navigating Postpartum Depression During Covid

Because of COVID-19, new moms often go to OBGYN and pediatrician appointments without their partners – and it’s often partners who first mention that a mom is struggling.

“I have had a number of spouses reach out or come to visits in the past,” Perry said, “and I’ve even had a few pediatricians call to say they had noticed symptoms.”

All of that helps Perry and other doctors provide better care for new moms.

“We all need to look out for one another, physically and emotionally.”

At Rochester Regional Health, our obstetric and gynecology practices offer the full range of women’s health services. We’re here to take care of you. Whether you’ve come to us for preventive care, pre-pregnancy counseling, relief from urinary incontinence, or one of our comprehensive obstetrics and gynecology services, our top priority is working as your partner to maintain a lifetime of good health and well-being.

Can Ppd Affect Your Baby

Yes. PPD can make it hard for you to care for yourself and your baby. This is why it’s important to treat PPD as soon as possible. If PPD is untreated:

  • You may skip your postpartum checkups and not follow instructions from your health care provider.
  • You may find it hard to bond with your baby.
  • Your baby may not breastfeed long. PPD may make it hard for you and your baby to get used to . Breast milk is the best food for your baby through the first year of life.
  • Your baby may not get medical care he needs. PPD may make it hard for you to take care of your baby if she’s sick. You may not see health problems in your baby that need quick attention and care. It may be hard for you to get your baby regular well-baby care, like . Vaccinations help protect your baby from harmful infections.
  • Your baby may have learning, behavior and development problems and mental health conditions later in life.

Getting treatment for PPD can help you feel better and be able to care for your baby. If you think you have PPD, tell your provider.  

What Are The First Symptoms Of Delayed Ppd

The symptoms of delayed PPD and regular PPD are the same. It’s important to differentiate between PPD and the “baby blues”. The “baby blues” refers to feelings of sadness, worry, fatigue, and self-doubt which plague up to 80% of new mothers soon after birth. However, the “baby blues” only last a few days or weeks at most, and they resolve spontaneously. 

These feelings are nothing more than a manifestation of the new responsibility that mothers take on for their babies, combined with physical fatigue and sleep deprivation. PPD, on the other hand, signals a more severe condition which is caused by an imbalance in brain chemistry.

In postpartum depression, hormones decrease significantly after delivery. Your levels of estrogen and progesterone, which were high during pregnancy, naturally go down once the baby arrives. In addition to the physical and emotional demands of new motherhood, these hormonal changes can affect the chemistry in your brain. 

However, these hormonal changes aren’t the sole cause of PPD. Other factors, such as physical exhaustion, sleep deprivation, feelings of unattractiveness, and having trouble adjusting to a new role in life also play a part in the development of delayed postpartum depression. In most cases, it’s a combination of these environmental and lifestyle factors along with an increased sensitivity to hormonal changes which cause of PPD.

  • Financial instability
  • Having a baby with birth defects or other health complications.

What Are The Risk Factors For Postpartum Depression

New Parents: How To Tell If You Have Postpartum Depression ...

Any new mother can develop postpartum depression regardless of age, ethnicity, or how many children she has.

These things might increase your risk:

  • previous depression or other mood disorder
  • family history of depression
  • drug or alcohol misuse
  • sleep deprivation and exhaustion

If you have some of these risk factors, talk to your doctor as soon as you notice symptoms. Postpartum depression can increase your risk of substance abuse or of harming yourself or your baby.

How Does The Quiz Work

The questions in this quiz have been designed to see whether you are experiencing some of the main symptoms of PND. Each time you select an answer, you will also be given information about your individual symptoms and their significance. At the end of the quiz, we will reveal the likelihood of you having PND, based on your answers.

Whilst the result of this quiz should give you an indication as to whether you’re experiencing depressive symptoms, no online quiz can diagnose a mental health problem. If you are feeling low – even if you don’t score highly on this quiz, it’s important that you speak with your GP, midwife or a family member.

Related Information

When Does Postpartum Depression Typically Start

PPD can begin as soon as you give birth, but you probably won’t realize it right away since it’s considered normal to feel sad, exhausted, and generally “out of sorts” during the first few days after baby arrives. It may not be until after the typical baby blue time frame should have passed that you realize something more serious is going on.

The postpartum period generally includes the first 4–6 weeks after birth, and many cases of PPD begin during that time. But PPD can also develop during pregnancy and up to 1 year after giving birth, so don’t discount your feelings if they’re happening outside of the typical postpartum period.

Here Are The Signs Of Postpartum Depression:

  • You stop looking forward to things that used to make you happy. The thought of going out to your favorite place to eat sounds daunting and overwhelming. You feel like you don’t look forward to anything, and nothing sounds fun.
  • You have a loss of appetite, or you eat too much. You can’t bring yourself to eat because nothing sounds good. Eating food feels more like a chore. Or you turn to food every time you feel sad, so you are eating way too much all day.
  • You struggle to bond with your baby or feel love toward your baby. You don’t want to be around your baby. When he/she is sleeping or away, you feel relieved. You feel like you don’t love your baby, or think about leaving.
  • You struggle to fall asleep or you sleep too much. You are constantly planning out the next time you can go to bed, can’t get yourself out of bed in the morning, and nap every chance you get. You have no energy and constantly feel tired. And/Or can’t fall asleep at night because you’re up crying or can’t shut your brain off.
  • You feel sad or unhappy. Sadness is a constant in your life. It looms over you and feels like a weight on your shoulders.
  • You cry all the time. You cry, but don’t know why you’re crying. Everything and anything seems to make you cry, especially when your baby cries.
  • You feel apathetic toward people or things. You feel empty, emotionless, and numb inside. Feeling love takes effort, and you stop caring. Everyday you feel blah, like you’re not really living.
  • Questions To Ask Your Doctor

    • Will I have to take antidepressants for life?
    • If I take medicine, will I have trouble getting off the medicine when I feel better?
    • How will I know if the medicine is making me feel better or if I’m naturally getting better?
    • Will I have postpartum depression with every pregnancy?
    • Who should I call if I am having thoughts of suicide or of harming my baby?

    Is It The Baby Blues Or Postpartum Depression

    The majority of women experience at least some symptoms of the baby blues immediately after childbirth. It’s caused by the sudden change in hormones after delivery, combined with stress, isolation, sleep deprivation, and fatigue. You might feel more tearful, overwhelmed, and emotionally fragile. Generally, this will start within the first couple of days after delivery, peak around one week, and taper off by the end of the second week postpartum.

    The baby blues are perfectly normal, but if your symptoms don’t go away after a few weeks or get worse, you may be suffering from postpartum depression.

    Extreme Signs Of Postpartum Depression

    Postpartum depression has other more severe types which involve extreme behaviors and emotions. The following are extreme signs of postpartum depression that may indicate PPD types like postpartum panic disorder, postpartum OCD, postpartum PTSD and postpartum psychosis.

    • Obsessive and repetitive behaviors such as cleaning and changing the baby’s clothes
    • Suffering from “panic attacks” with physical symptoms like racing heartbeat, shortness of breath and tightening chest
    • Intrusive thoughts of harming the baby and being horrified by these thoughts
    • Fearing that she is losing control over her thoughts or that she is going crazy


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