Depression after pregnancyWhat are the signs of postpartum depression?
Depression After Pregnancy
You have just given birth to your wonderful bundle of joy. This is one of the most special times in your life, but you are feeling very sad, alone, afraid or unloving towards your baby. Why? Researches don't know why it happens exactly, but you are not alone. Depression occuring after pregnancy is known as postpartum depression or peripartum depression. After pregnancy, hormonal changes in a woman's body can cause symptoms of depression. During pregnancy, the amount of two female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, in a woman's body increases greatly. In the first 24 hours after childbirth, the amount of these hormones rapidly drops back down to their normal non-pregnant levels. Sometimes, levels of thyroid hormones may also drop after giving birth. The thyroid is a small gland in the neck that helps to regulate your metabolism (how your body uses and stores energy from food). Low thyroid levels can cause symptoms of depression including depressed mood, decreased interest in things, irritability, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, sleep problems, and weight gain. A simple blood test can tell if this condition is causing a woman's depression. If so, thyroid medicine can be prescribed by a doctor.
Generally, the symptoms are mild and for most women, the feelings will go away on their own. But 10-20% of women develop a more disabling form of this mood disorder called postpartum depression. Baby blues
The `baby blues` are a temporary state of heightened emotions that happens in about half of women who have recently given birth. This usually begins 3-5 days after delivery and will last for several days to 2 weeks. If you experience the blues, you may cry more easily than usual, have trouble sleeping or feel irritable and sad. Baby blues are very common and it is not considered an illness. Postpartum baby blues do not interfere with your ability to care for the baby. The likelyhood of developing postpartum blues is not related to a previous mental illness and is not caused by stress. However, stress and a history of depression may influence whether the baby blues go on to become major depression. Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression is depression that occurs soon after having a baby. Some health professionals call it postpartum nonpsychotic depression. Postpartum depression occurs in about 10-20% of women, usually within a few months of delivery. You are at higher risk for developing postpartum depression if you have had previous depression, psychosocial stress or if you have a lack of social support. If you experience postpartum depression, you may worry about the baby's health and well-being. Even though most women never act on their thoughts, you may have negative thoughts about the baby and fears about harming the infant. This type of depression does generally interfere with your ability to care for the baby. When a woman with severe postpartum depression becomes suicidal, she may consider killing her infant and young children. This is usually not from anger, but from a desire not to abandon them. Postpartum Psychosis
Postpartum (puerperal) psychosis is the most serious postpartum disorder. It requires immediate treatment. This type of extreme depression is reare. A woman with this condition experiences psychotic symptoms within 3 weeks of giving birth. These include false beliefs (delusions), hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there), or both. Postpartum psychosis is associated with mood disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, or psychosis. If you are experiencing postpartum psychosis, symptoms can include inability to sleep, agitation, and mood swings. A woman experiencing psychosis can appear well temporarily. She may lead health professionals and caregivers into thinking that she has recovered, but she can continue to be severely depressed and ill even after brief periods of seeming well. Women who harbor thoughts of hurting their infants are more likely to act on them if they have postpartum psychosis. If untreated, postpartum psychotic depression has a high likelihood of coming back after the postpartum period and also after the birth of other children. Postpartum Depression Causes:
No specific cause of postpartum depression has been found. However, there are some things that may play a role in developing the condition. A mothers age and race do not affect her chances of having depression after delivery.
Postpartum Depression Symptoms:
- Hormone imbalance
- Levels of estrogen, progesterone and cortisol fall dramatically after delivery
- Mental illness before pregnancy
- Mental illness in the family
- Conflict in marriage, loss of employment or poor social support from friends and family
- Postpartum mental disorder after a previous pregnancy
- Miscarriage or stillbirth
- Physical changes after pregnancy
Symptoms usually appear any time from 24 hours to a few months after delivery.
Exams And Tests:
- Sad mood
- Frequent crying
- Lack of pleasure or interest in activities you previosuly enjoyed
- Sleep disturbance
- Weight loss
- Loss of energy
- Agitation or anxiety
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Feelings of rejection
- Decreased interest in sex
- Physical symptoms such as frequent headaches, chest pain, rapid heart beat, numbness, shakiness or dizziness, and mild shortness of breath suggest anxiety.
The diagnosis of postpartum depression are often missed because the symptoms are so common after childbirth. The symptoms are the same as those of many other mental illnesses, especially depression. Here is what to expect during an evaluation.
Call your health care provider in any of the following situations:
- Your health care provider will ask you about your symptoms: what they are, how bad they are, and how long they have lasted.
- He or she will also ask whether you have ever had similar symptoms before.
- You will also be asked about risk factors for depression, such as family or marital problems, other stresses, mental illness in family members, and drug and alcohol use.
- Your health care provider may use the questions of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. You answer 10 questions, and your answers indicate your probability of having postpartum depression. Depending on your score, you may be referred for further evaluation.
Call a neighbor, friend, or loved one who is nearby AND 911 right away if you are experiencing any of the following:
- When you have mood swings or feel depressed for more than a few days after the birth of your baby
- When you feel you are unable to cope with the daily activities in your life, including caring for your newborn or your other children
- When you have strong feelings of depression or anger 1-2 months after childbirth
Comments: Depression after pregnancy
Comments 1 to 24 of about 127.
- Inability to sleep more than 2 hours per night
- Thoughts of hurting or killing yourself
- Thoughts of hurting your baby or other children
- Hearing voices or seeing things
- Thoughts that your baby is evil
1 2 3 4 5 NextMommy2B24
763 days ago.
I am a first-time mom to a 3 month old baby boy. I've been struggling with PPD since i gave birth. Eventually, it escalated to postpartum psychosis after about a month with little to no sleep. I cried everyday for the first 2 months. I was so depressed that my body was starting to shut down. I felt like i was dying. It has gotten better since then, but i still feel overwhelmed and lost. I feel like my life is spiraling out of control. Some days i just want to disappear because i find it hard to make it through each day. My husband was a single parent for the first 2months, and the stress of him having to put me away in an institution caused his hair to come out. I just wanna be me again, but i don't know who that is anymore...... j2r81786
769 days ago.
I am a new mom to a 2 week old daughter, my husband went back to work today and officially I am taking care of her on my own. I feel terrible, my daughter isn't too fussy but I still find myself crying today and stressed out over the idea of being the only one able to take care of her. I have no family or friends to come over and help since we are military and recently moved. I feel lost, lonely and wondering if it's too early to think that PPD is setting in.
852 days ago.
Well, hello again. Thought I'd drop a line to say this time the med combo prozac and lithium are helping me. I feel much better than i have in many months, and I can actually play with my children w/out feeling like I'm not really here. What I've been through has been trully horrible. i can't begin to describe or explain to someone who hasn't been there. for all you others, hang in there, find a good doctor and the right meds, be patient, life becomes better again! Sammygirl2
859 days ago.
I have been off work on disability leave due to major depressive episode along w PPD. I have always dealt w depression on and off since my teens. With my 2nd pregnancy, it came back to bite me in the ass. I've been hospitalized 3x's in the last 2 months trying to attempt suicide. I am on meds, but still trying to find the right meds to 'fix' me. It's been rough and I just want to get back to normal. My son was born March 27, 2010. He is now 9 months old. I've been having major mood swings since my pregnancy with him. Things just continuued to get worse. My daughter is 2 1/2 now and I breast fed her until she was about 1 1/2 and I got pregnant with #2. I planned to breastfeed baby #2 but it was difficult and i supplemented and didn't have the energy to pump while at work this time around. The 2nd time I was hospitalized, I gave up completely trying to pump. I was out of energy, both mental and physical. I just shut down. Needless to say my baby is weaned. Sometimes I miss breastfeeding my son, but now the doctor has me on Lithium along with the prozac and the Lithium is not safe to breastfeed with. My doctor is appealing a decision from my health insurance today on my behalf to recieve further treatment in the partial hospital program I has been going to up until a few days ago when my insurance would not approve further days of treatment. I am hanging on by a thread sometimes. Can't stop thinking about suicide and how it might be the only alternative for me at this point. Sometimes I believe my husband and kids would be better off without an irratable, moody, lazy, unenjoyable to be around mother. OliviaandSeth
891 days ago.
Hello, I am 38 weeks pregnant, I am having a scheduled c-section in 4 days. I had a boy 7 years ago, I had him by an emergency c-section, when he was born his color wasn't right, and ended up he had a lot of issues, He was in NICU for 2 weeks, and I was told I couldn't breastfeed by the nurse on duty, and after we had her pulled off the case, it was to late, he did not nor would he latch to me. I had a very server case of PPD, I was hospitalized in a mental hospital, I was very suicidal, I had thoughts of throwing my son across the room, it was not me at all. The only way I've ever been able to describe it, I was trapped in my body, and someone else was controlling me. I felt possessed.
Anyways, this pregnancy was planned, I was 21yrs old with my son, and he was not planned, he was a surprise. My husband and I tried for her, and it's now been 7 years and 2 months. I'm terrified of having PPD again. I don't know if my chances are greater or smaller now, but I do know that the bond I feel right this moment with my baby girl, I can't imagine going through it again, but that fear is in the back of my mind. shelly32
948 days ago.
OK so long story - someone please help! My first pregnancy was from feb 08 until nov 08 i breastfed my son and became pregnant in july of 09 (my son was 8 monthsold) i weaned him by 11 months and continued my pregnancy until she was born in may of 09. I breastfed her until just after her first birthday to June '10. My sister was 27 and passed away in March of '09 (two months before second baby was born - worth mentioning for later reasons) In August I had my first real panic attacks - i'm not sure if it was just a panic attach or if i had a virus also at the same time. Anyhow after realizing i was having this anxiety i realized i have had more anxiety since i stopped nursing but it wasn't that bad and came and went. In the past 8 weeks I have noticed it happens in the middle of my cycle. I've had quite a few tests done and I believe I have the anxiety pretty well under control but I still don't feel like me. I'm a very happy energetic person normally. Please know i am not depressed nor feeling unhappy at all - i feel the opposite. I've had to cut out caffeine that helps some and too much sugar makes it worse. Everyone around me is convinced its in my head because of my sister passing a year and a half ago. The only real anxiety I have over this (not that i'm happy shes passed away, but that's life i guess) is i'm afraid of surgery situations no actually being sick. I still am feeling like i am having trouble taking in air sometimes and also i get pain in my left breast area and my brain tingles sometimes too. I felt like maybe i was having post partum axiety since it seems to get better during my period and for about 5 days after. So half the month i feel ok and the other half i'm suffering. I just want to feel normal again - i do in the back of my mind feel like there is something wrong with me but i keep telling myself that i'm fine and it's not going away. Even when the anxiety feeling isn't there the shortness of breath is. Has anyone else had post partum anxiety after weaning their children? is it worse because iwas pregnant/nursing for so long? How the heck do I stabilize my hormones? will these feelings go away? please email me direclty as i hardly get on this site - email@example.com Thanks ! leeleesmom
1001 days ago.
Ugh still suffering from PPD 2 years later. Is there anyone else out there like this? Please let me know... Also, ways I can recover? I would love to know.... I must add that while delivering my second child I experienced a severe placenta abruption and both my children have been premature. I have a good family life, I just dont know how to shake this completely. What to do? chelle7
1004 days ago.
Hello ladies, i've been diagnosed with pnd. i've gone 2 months with the meds in a draw thinking i can get better without them. It's only the last few days i've thought i'm sick of just coping i want to be enjoying!!! I've been prescribed sertraline(zoloft) was hoping for some insight into taking it!! I'm breast feeding and scared about that, also when to take it day or night etc. debmomof2
1083 days ago.
I Had postpartum depression with my first daughter . I am pregnant with our second and i don't want it again im scared that i will get it again. I had a very bad case of it ..I told my husband i was gonna kill him and the baby. I tryed to kill myself whenever left alone and when i went to my doctor for help my insurance would not cover medication for it so i had to snap myself out of it! This is the worst thing a new mom can go through so if any of you need help or someone to talk to no matter how dark the thought may be you can talk to me because i have been there! I have found that have people around you that are jerks will make things way worse on you so get away from them now! anyways if you want to talk im here. Hugs and good luck traciemac
1086 days ago.
No i have it too. Bri
1100 days ago.
PrinceEvan - Did you breastfeed your first? I ask because sometimes it helps. When you breastfeed your hormones don't take a head dive but gradually come down. Not saying that those that breastfeed don't get it but your chances are a lot less. Also, now that you know that you have a higher risk you and your family can be on the look out. There are meds that you can take that will help, even if you are breastfeeding. Good Luck! PrinceEvan
1101 days ago.
I suffered terribly with it after my son was born. It was a good year until I started to feel somewhat normal again. Whatever normal is! I'm pregnant with my second baby due in Nov and the doctors say my chances of getting it again are pretty good. It scares the hell out of me, I really don't want to go down that dark road again. I feel like I missed a lot of my son's first year 'cause I was in such a fog. If anyone is suffering from this and they would like to talk to someone who came out of it a stronger person, please feel free to leave me a message on my profile page! iamblessed
1105 days ago.
I am shocked! No one else is suffering from post partum just me lol! Rubes
1172 days ago.
I don't have Post Natal Depression, but have a history of depression, and was told that that will increase the liklihood of developing PND... However, I've been lucky to not develop it at all (it's 2-months since I had my baby). Anyways, I've had some harassment trouble from my husband's ex-wife... She got issued a warning (at my request, as I could have taken her to court but chose not too...) Anyways, she's not happy, and I'm scared she's going to come after me and Lilia... I feel like such a victim, and I fear I'm becoming depressed again because of this... I don't want to be depressed again... Or feel victimised... monkey♥love
1182 days ago.
Hi ladies - maybe you can help me. I was just diagnosed with depression yesterday. The doctor prescribed me Celexa link and told to start taking it this morning. She told me I may experience dry mouth. So I got online last night and read up on the drug and I have to admit there is a huge list of side effects and warnings. I am freaking out. I haven't taken the meds yet because I am afraid of the side effects. Has anyone experienced anything on this pill? Please help!! deleted
1186 days ago.
I am suffering from mild ppd and I feel it's due to brestfeeding my baby boy is now 4 weeks old and I decided to stop breastfeeding. I remember feeling this way when I had my daughter 11 years ago and when I stopped breastfeeding I got better in a couple of weeks and was back to myself again. I am not saying this is right for you but just telling my story. I feel hopeless and cry alot and put crazy thoughts that my hubby is cheating on me. I hate myself for feeling this way. I do not want to go on medication so I am once again gonna try the old remedy and hope it works again. good luck to you all Sue23
1191 days ago.
People dont know what depression is until u have it ive had depression Since i was 15 cuuing myself and overdoses i learnt how to control it 6 years ago when i became pregnant with my first then after i got postnatal depression thou i looked after her i didnt bond with her till she was 2 i thought that was the end of depression that i couldnt control but i was wrong i became pregnant with my son pain al the way thru couldnt enjoy thd pregnancy after i had him i started enjoying life 2 months later it started again depression but this time worse i feel like im in a world of my own just staring mind totally blank pain in my chest and joints in my body i dont know why its come back like this i love my husband love my kids what more do i need the hardest thing at the moment is ňt spending alot of time with the kids im tired all the time with no energy i wounder how long it will last WhatCouldBe2
1199 days ago.
I am so sick of me right now... I am on100 mg zoloft and still struggling... Bri
1204 days ago.
The only one I know of that is proven safe with breastfeeding is Zoloft. I'm sure there are others but if you just need a low dose then Zoloft is probably your best bet. 3rdbabyat38
1205 days ago.
Quick question for anyone who has experience with this... antidepressants and breastfeeding... What have any of your heard regarding this? Are their good ones that won't effect the baby? Lisa Clark
1222 days ago.
hi all i have suffered from depression for years but it got more severe after i had a ectopic .. im still trying to concieve .. a year and a half later !! .x im not on any meds .. traciemac
1229 days ago.
i've been on cipralex for 2 days now for post pardom after my 2nd baby and i allready feel better. Go see your doc and find out if that's what u have and maybe she will put u on anti depressants and maybe not maybe just councelling. Good luck! AmoInfans
1237 days ago.
My daughter is 12 days old and since I was about 20 weeks pregnant I haven't felt 'right'. I can't explain it, but I just don't feel like myself...it makes me feel horrible because I know that I should be happy, but I don't really feel anything. It is like I'm numb. I know that my feelings (or lack thereof) are effecting my marriage and ability to care for my daughter. =( Any words of advice? msaelim0810
1266 days ago.
Hi ladies. I just wanted to drop a line. My son is now 7 months old and I have been on a low dose of Zoloft (50mg) for 4 months now. I am back to my old self and I feel great. No more anxiety, scared to be a lone or negative thoughts. It can be a scary feeling what your own mind and body can put you through, but please believe me..talk to your doctor about it and find help. It's all worth it and life is too short to be sad and depressed when we can do something about it. Good blessings to everyone! ElliottnDeclans-mummy
1294 days ago.
Jus thought I would update you all on my PPD. Well I have been off the drugs for some months now, haven't had nightmares for such a long time. I still get down from time to time, but on the whole I feel ten times better!
I am now married, Elliott is almost 1 year old and I am so happy right now.
To those still suffering there is light at the end of the tunnel and things do get better eventually.