What is Postpartum Depression? Postpartum depression (PPD) is a general term used to describe a wide range of emotional disorders a woman can experience after the birth of her child. Three types of disorders are generally recognized: The Baby Blues, Postpartum Depression, and Postpartum Psychosis.
The Baby Blues
Approximately 60-80% of women experience the baby blues. This term refers to a period of temporary moodiness which usually begins 1-3 days after delivery. Symptoms may include sadness, irritability, frustration, and fatigue. These symptoms come and go but usually disappear within a couple of days (or a maximum of two weeks). Although the new mom feels quite miserable, the baby blues are not considered to be true postpartum depression.
Postpartum Depression: It is estimated that 10-20% of new mothers experience postpartum depression; however, we suspect that this number is greater since many cases go unreported. Symptoms of postpartum depression are similar but more persistent (lasting throughout the day and longer than two weeks) than those of the baby blues. They usually develop a few weeks after delivery but can occur at any time during the first year after childbirth. Symptoms may include frequent crying, sleep disturbances, feelings of anger/irritability, suicidal thoughts, and sometimes anxiety or panic attacks. The new mom may feel overwhelmed, inadequate, and unable to cope. Although exhausted, she is usually unable to sleep. She may worry obsessively about the baby's health, while feeling guilty about not bonding emotionally to her child. Many women are ashamed of their feelings and often do not seek help. Early recognition and proper treatment are important.
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