The Baby Blues

Having a baby can be both elating and exhausting. During the first few weeks after giving birth you may feel fatigue and some pain as your body heals. Symptoms can include feeling overwhelmed, confused and nervous. The American Academy of Obstetrics and Gynecologists says that a postpartum woman who has the "blues" will frequently cry and do so for long periods of time. Patients describe having their feelings hurt rather easily, an irritability triggered by the most minor incidents and most troubling, a lack of feeling for the baby.

Symptoms of Postpartum Depression

The American Academy of Obstetrics and Gynecologists says that postpartum depression is probably caused by a combination of factors and comes in two forms: major and minor. Major depression is diagnosed when five or more of the symptoms listed below are present for at least a two-week period. Minor depression is diagnosed when two to four of these symptoms are present for at least a two-week period. In both cases, at least one of the symptoms must include being depressed for most of the day or having a decreased interest in activities almost every day. Talk with your doctor if you are experiencing any of these symptoms:

  • Depressed mood most of the day
  • Noticeably decreased interest or pleasure in activities almost every day
  • Noticeable weight loss or gain
  • Decreased or increased appetite
  • Insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Fatigue
  • Agitation or apathy
  • Guilt
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Headaches
  • Panic attacks
  • Lack of feeling for the baby
  • Fantasies of hurting the baby
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide

Treating Postpartum Depression

There are many things you can do on your own to help ease maternity blues or postpartum depression. It’s important to understand that depression isn’t an attitude – you can’t just “snap out of it.” The most important thing to do is take a step back and allow yourself some time to adjust to your new life. Here are some other tips:

  • Ask for help with daily activities
  • Keep visits short with friends and family
  • Get as much rest as possible
  • Get out of the house whenever you have a chance
  • Get together with other new moms
  • Make time for moderate aerobic exercise, like walking

Medication can also be very helpful. If you are breastfeeding, your doctor can help you understand which medications are least likely to affect your baby. Above all, make sure that you get help. If you think you may have postpartum depression, contact your health care provider right away.

Support for Moms

Texas Health Resources offers several support groups for moms who feel they may be struggling with postpartum depression. Moms can interact with one another and share their concerns – seeking support from others who are experiencing the same highs and lows. Find a group or mommy mixer.

A Place to Start
Depression comes in different forms, and so does our treatment. Our complimentary assessment gets that process started. So, if you think that you, or someone you love, has depression, schedule your no-cost assessment today.
How to Help Postpartum Depression
If you are concerned that a new mom might be dealing with postpartum depression, it’s time to be curious, ask questions of your loved one and listen closely.
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