The Baby Blues
It’s common for women to experience the “baby blues”---feeling stressed, sad, anxious, lonely, tired or weepy---following their baby’s birth. But at least one in seven experience a much more serious mood disorder: postpartum depression.
How Long Does Postpartum Depression Last?
Postpartum depression doesn’t go away on its own and it can appear days or even months after delivery a baby; it can last for many weeks or months if left untreated. Postpartum depression can make it hard for you to get through your day, and it can affect your ability to take care of your baby or yourself.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression:
• The warning signs are different for everyone but may include:
• A loss of pleasure or interest in things you used to enjoy, including sex
• Eating much more, or much less, than you usually do
• Anxiety---all or most of the time---or panic attacks
• Racing, scary thoughts
• Feeling guilty or worthless---blaming yourself
• Excessive irritability, anger or agitation---mood swings
• Sadness, crying uncontrollably for very long periods of time
• Fear of not being a good mother
• Fear of being left alone with the baby
• Inability to sleep, sleeping too much, difficulty falling or staying asleep
• Disinterest in the baby, family and friends
• Difficulty concentrating, remembering details or making decisions
• Thoughts of hurting yourself or the baby
When to Get Help from a Doctor
If these warning signs or symptoms last longer than two weeks, you may need to get help. Whether your symptoms are mild or severe, recovery is possible with proper treatment. If you are having thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby, call a doctor immediately and be sure to talk with your spouse and let them know how you are feeling.