Know the signs of postpartum depression and seek help
Having a baby is a joyous time, but it also can come with a lot of unexplained and varied emotions and bouts of sadness.
About two to three days after childbirth, some mothers may find themselves feeling depressed, anxious or upset. They may cry for no reason, have trouble sleeping, eating or making decisions or question whether they can handle being a mother.
These feelings are often referred to as postpartum blues, and they are normal. It’s estimated between 70 to 80 percent of women experience postpartum blues. Postpartum blues usually get better without any treatment within one to two weeks.
But when the blues last longer than a couple of weeks and start to get worse – especially if you are distancing yourself from taking care of your baby – you may have postpartum depression and should seek immediate support.
Postpartum depression or anxiety is not that uncommon and is estimated to happen in one out of every seven postpartum women, so don’t feel alone or abnormal. There are a number of factors that can contribute to postpartum depression ranging from changes in hormone levels to a history of depression to fatigue to lifestyle factors. Postpartum depression can occur up to one year after having a baby, but it commonly is noticed about three weeks after childbirth.
Most moms will have a scheduled postpartum checkup with their OB/GYN about six weeks after delivery. However, you should contact your doctor sooner or when your experience any of these signs of symptoms:
- Loss of identity
- Complete loss of control
- Feeling withdrawn, isolated and lonely
- Change in appetite (either under eating or overeating)
- Exhaustion but unable to sleep
- Feelings of hopelessness, a sense of failure or guilt
- Mood swings
- Constant crying
- Constant anxiety or doubt
- Sleeping too much
- Lack of interest in yourself, baby or others
- Overly concerned about the health and safety of your baby
- The need to keep moving or pacing
- Difficulty focusing or concentrating
In addition to your OB/GYN, you can reach out to the Postpartum Support International Georgia Chapter at 470-798-0088 or visit their website, psiga.org.
There’s also a national support number you can call: 1-800-944-4PPD or visit their website, postpartum.net.