What is postpartum depression (PPD)?
Approximately 1 in 9 new mothers suffer from postpartum depression, which is a type of depression that occurs following the birth of a child (1, 2). According to the Mayo Clinic, postpartum mood troubles (called the ‘postpartum blues’) is an experience commonly associated with new parenthood (1). Postpartum depression involves a more severe and long-lasting impact on mood, and intense feelings of anxiety, sadness, detachment, apathy, and depression in the weeks after delivery. New mothers with PPD may experience depression symptoms that interfere with their ability to do daily tasks or care for their baby, or even the ability to care for themselves. For many physicians, the duration or intensity of these symptoms are the determining factors used to diagnose postpartum depression.
Symptoms of postpartum depression
Symptoms of postpartum depression commonly appear within the first few weeks of giving birth, but they may come on during pregnancy or up to a year after birth. Symptoms may include (the following list is not exhaustive) (1):
- Excessive crying
- Difficulty bonding with the baby
- Fear that you are not a good parent
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Recurrent thoughts of suicide or death
- Thoughts of harming yourself
- Thoughts of harming your baby
- Extreme anxiety or panic attacks
- Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or shame
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating or completing tasks
When to see your doctor
It is advised that you call your doctor if your symptoms:
- Include thoughts of suicide, harming yourself, or harming your baby*
- Get worse over time
- Make daily tasks difficult
- Make caring for your baby difficult
- Do not go away after two weeks
Treatment is available to mothers to help manage symptoms associated with depression after having a baby. Postpartum depression is commonly treated with psychotherapy and/or antidepressants (1). New mothers who feel they might be suffering from postpartum depression should consult with a doctor immediately. Many side effects of postpartum depression are considered medical emergencies.
*If you have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, call a partner, friend, or loved one and have them take care of your baby. Then call 911 or your local emergency assistance number to get immediate help with your postpartum depression. The national suicide prevention hotline in the U.S. is 1-800-273-8255, and they have a webchat address as well (suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat).
About ABC Law Centers
ABC Law Centers was established to focus exclusively on birth injury cases. A birth injury is any type of harm to a baby that occurs just before, during, or after birth. This includes issues such as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), cerebral palsy, infection, trauma, and others. While some children with birth injuries make a complete recovery, others develop long-term disabilities. Settlements from birth injury lawsuits can cover the costs of lifelong treatment, care, and other crucial resources.
If you believe you may have a birth injury case for your child, please contact us today to learn more. We are happy to talk to you free of any obligation or charge. In fact, clients pay nothing throughout the entire legal process unless we win.
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- Postpartum depression. (2018, September 1). Retrieved January 25, 2020, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/postpartum-depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20376617
- Postpartum depression. (2019, May 14). Retrieved January 25, 2020, from https://www.womenshealth.gov/mental-health/mental-health-conditions/postpartum-depression#13