Post means "after," and partum means "pregnancy," so postpartum refers to the time period after you have a baby. It's usually considered the first 6 weeks.
Depression is feeling so sad and hopeless that you can't do your normal activities.
What is postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression is feeling so sad and hopeless that you can't do your normal activities. It starts during the weeks and months after having a baby.
It’s common to feel sad or miserable in the first few days after giving birth—these feelings are normal and usually go away within 2 weeks
Postpartum depression is a more serious mood change that lasts for weeks or months
You have trouble doing daily activities and may lose interest in your baby
About 1 in 10 women gets postpartum depression
It can happen even if you never had depression before
If untreated, postpartum depression can last for months or years
Doctors treat postpartum depression with antidepressants and therapy
Go to the hospital right away if you're thinking of suicide or having violent thoughts, such as hurting your baby.
What causes postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression may be caused by the sudden drop in hormone levels after your baby is born.
Many women have no risk factors. But you’re more likely to get postpartum depression if you:
Have depression Depression Depression is feeling too sad or sluggish to do your daily tasks or take part in activities you usually enjoy. It’s normal to feel sad after something sad happens, such as a death or loss—depression... read more before or during pregnancy—tell your doctor if you had depression before you got pregnant
Had postpartum depression in a previous pregnancy
Have sadness or depression during your period or while taking birth control
Have family members who have depression
Are stressed by things like money or marriage problems
Lack support from a partner or family members
Had problems related to your pregnancy, such as an early delivery or a baby with birth defects
Weren't sure you wanted a baby (for example, the pregnancy was unplanned)
What are the symptoms of postpartum depression?
Getting irritated easily
Not being interested in your baby
You may also have:
Changes in sleep, such as sleeping too much or too little
Anxiety or panic attacks
Difficulty doing daily activities, such as showering
Worrying too much about your baby without good reason
Feeling hopeless or not good enough
Feeling guilty about any of these feelings
What is postpartum psychosis?
Psychosis is when you lose touch with reality. This may happen when postpartum depression is severe. You may have hallucinations or act very strangely. You may want to hurt yourself or your baby.
When should I go to the doctor for postpartum depression?
You should see your doctor if:
You feel sad and have trouble doing your usual activities for more than 2 weeks after your baby is born
You have thoughts about hurting yourself or your baby
Friends and family have noticed you seem to be depressed or having a hard time coping with things
How can doctors tell if I have postpartum depression?
Doctors diagnose postpartum depression by asking you questions.
Sometimes doctors do blood tests to see if there is another problem, such as a thyroid disorder, causing your symptoms.
How do doctors treat postpartum depression?
Doctors treat postpartum depression with:
If your depression is very severe of if you have postpartum psychosis, you may need to be treated in the hospital. Often your baby can stay with you. Doctors treat postpartum psychosis with antipsychotic medicine and antidepressants.
If you're breastfeeding, doctors will use medicines that are safe for your baby.
How can I prevent postpartum depression?
To prevent postpartum depression, try to:
Get as much rest as possibly by napping when the baby naps
Ask family members and friends for help
Talk to your partner, family, or friends about your feelings
Take a shower and get dressed every day
Get out of the house—take a walk, meet with friends, or run an errand
Spend time alone with your partner
Join a support group to talk with other mothers
Recognize that tiredness, doubts, and trouble concentrating are normal for new mothers and will pass