Postpartum depression is depression that occurs after childbirth. About one in nine women experience postpartum depression. Many women have "baby blues" or feelings of sadness and fatigue after childbirth. Baby blues typically go away within a few weeks or months and don't interfere with your ability to care for your baby.
Postpartum depression is intense feelings of sadness or worthlessness that can make it hard for your to care for or bond with your newborn. It can come on anytime in the first few months after childbirth.
Any woman can get postpartum depression. Having a baby is an emotionally charged time in your life. You experience hormonal changes as well as stress and new responsibilities. You may be more at risk of developing postpartum depression if you:
Postpartum depression is a serious illness that can affect your recovery from childbirth, your connection with your baby and your overall happiness. However, it is a common issue for many new moms and treatment is available.
If you have thoughts of suicide or of harming your baby, call 911 or seek professional help immediately.
Magee-Womens Hospital offers behavioral health services tailored to the needs of women at different stages in their lives. You can have a team environment of ob/gyns, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists and counselors. This ensures that your individual needs are met. For more information contact Magee-Womens Behavioral Health Services at 412-641-1238.
Symptoms of postpartum depression are more severe than those of the baby blues. They include:
It can be hard to distinguish between normal feelings of exhaustion, being overwhelmed or frustrated that happens early after giving birth. Experiencing the symptoms above for more than 2 weeks is a sign that you may have postpartum depression.
If you're worried about any of your feelings, start by calling your ob/gyn or talk to your provider about what you're experiencing at your 6-week visit.
Your doctor makes a diagnosis based on observation in the office and talking to you about your symptoms. He or she may test your thyroid hormone to make sure an imbalance isn't causing feelings of depression. Your doctor may refer you to a counselor or therapist to find the best treatment for your depression.
Magee-Womens Hospital has a dedicated behavioral health services team to work with you in this unique period of your life. Our staff understands what you're going through and can provide treatment and strategies tailored to your life. Call us at 412-641-1238 to make an appointment.
The first choice of treatment is often counseling to help you recognize symptoms and work through those feeling. A therapist may give you strategies to work on at home to help you adapt to life with a baby and manage your mood.
Parent coaching or other classes may also help strengthen the bond between you and your baby and give you more confidence in your parenting abilities.
Your doctor may also recommend an antidepressant if you have more severe depression. Talk to your doctor about medication options and what to expect if you're breastfeeding.
You are not alone and having postpartum depression isn't a sign of weakness. Many other moms are going through the same thing. Attending a support group to hear from others may help you recover and learn strategies for handling the hard days.
Exercising and eating healthy will help give you strength and prepare your body to handle the hormonal changes that happen after childbirth. Taking care of yourself by asking for help can also help prevent depression.
Ask others to change diapers, cook meals or give your baby a bottle while you sleep will help keep you from getting burned out and exhausted. Avoid alcohol and caffeine at first as well. These steps can be part of your treatment for postpartum depression as well.
Magee-Womens Hospital has experts in behavioral health who can tailor treatment to your needs and wishes. We have a range of counseling options and classes for you and your family. Our experts are dedicated to providing care for women at this stage in their lives. Call us at 412-641-1238 to speak with a member of our staff.