Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Postpartum Depression

Baby Blues
What are "Baby Blues?"

"Baby Blues" are very common. Many new moms have a feeling of being let down after the emotionally-charged experience of birth. Baby blues may happen during the first few days after you have the baby. In some women, the feelings begin even before the baby is born or several weeks after birth. Symptoms if baby blues may includeL
  • sudden mood swings (ranging from feeling very happy to feeling very sad)
  • feelings of loneliness
  • restlessness
  • irritability
  • crying for no reason
  • anxiety
Symptoms of the blues usually go away on their own, sometimes as quickly as they came.

What can be done?
  • Talk with your partner and other loved ones about how you are feeling.
  • Talk with your health care provider about your feelings.
  • Rest! Try to take a nap while your baby is sleeping.
  • Ask for help with chores and nighttime feedings.
  • Don't feel you have to do it all. Do as much as you can and leave the rest.
  • Get dressed and leave the house for a short time each day.
  • Try to spend time alone with your partner. 
  • Talk to other mothers.

Postpartum Depression
What is it?
One in 15-20 mothers experience postpartum depression. It can occur while you are still pregnant, within days of the delivery, or appear gradually, sometimes up to a year or so later. Symptoms may include:
  • sluggishness, fatigue, exhaustion
  • sadness, depression, hopelessness
  • appetite and sleep disturbances
  • poor concentration, confusion
  • memory loss
  • over-concern for the baby
  • uncontrollable crying, irritability
  • lack of interest in the baby
  • guilt, inadequacy
  • fear of harming yourself
  • exaggerated highs and/or lows
  • lack of interest in sex
Symptoms may range from mild to severe. You may have "good" and "bad" days.

What can be done?
Seek help from your health care provider as soon as possible. Depending on how severe your depression is, your health care provider may put you on medication and refer you for counseling.
If you are breastfeeding, your health care provider can talk with you about which medications will be best for you and your baby while you breastfeed.

Postpartum Psychosis
What is it?
Postpartum psychosis is a serious mental illness. It affects one in 1,000 new mothers. It can occur up to a year after having a baby. Women who suffer from it may lose touch with reality. They may experience hallucinations, delusions, bizarre feelings and behavior, and be unable to sleep.

What can be done?
Postpartum psychosis should be treated as a medical emergency. This is a serious problem. It is important to get help right away.        

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