Believe it or not, this is not unusual. You are not alone – roughly 50 to 80 percent of women go through what is called “baby blues”. This is an emotional condition causing tearfulness, self-doubt, worry, unhappiness, and fatigue. It can start within a day or two after delivery, but the good news is it does go away on its own within a week or two!
What happens when the “baby blues” continues? Having a baby is definitely a happy time, but it can be and is very stressful for some.
Approximately 10 to 20 percent of women will experience a more serious form of depression known as postpartum depression.
It can last for many weeks and months if left untreated. It can occur anytime within the first year after delivery. The good news is, it can be treated.
Signs of postpartum depression can include:
- Restlessness, anger, irritability
- Sadness or crying a lot
- Feelings of worthlessness and/or guilt
- Overly worried about the baby or yourself
- Little or no energy
- Headaches, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, numbness, or tingling
- Trouble sleeping
- Trouble focusing
- Little interest in things you used to enjoy – including sex
There is no single cause for postpartum depression. Physical, emotional, and lifestyle factors can all play a role. Depression also runs in families. Risk of postpartum depression increases if you or anyone in your family has had a history of depression. Other risk factors include:
- Stressful events within the last year
- Your baby has health problems
- Problems within your relationship
- Having a weak support system
- Financial problems
- Your pregnancy was unplanned or unwanted
If you think you may be struggling with postpartum depression, please seek treatment!
Untreated, depression can interfere with mother-child bonding and cause family problems. It can also lead to a more severe disorder called post-partum psychosis. Post-partum psychosis is rare, affecting 1 out of 1,000 new mothers. The mother often loses touch with reality. She often has thoughts of harming herself or her baby. These are the cases that we see in the news. This is a medical emergency!
It is not your fault if you experience depression. It is a medical condition that requires treatment. Treatment often consists of anti-depressants and therapy. With early diagnosis and treatment, depression can resolve much faster. If your symptoms last more than two weeks, don’t wait! If you believe that you or someone you love is suffering, act right away. Call your delivery provider.
Love yourself and your baby!
Ask for help- Demand it right away!
Set realistic expectations!
Make time for yourself!
Meet our Midwives
Emily Zambrano-Andrews, ARNP, CNM, is a board-certified nurse midwife and advanced registered nurse practitioner who is passionate about serving women and infants. She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree through Frontier.
If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment with Mercy Clinics Midwifery, please call (515) 643-6869.
This is the 9th installment in a healthcare series from Mercy Des Moines. Find the rest of the posts below: