How Common Is Postpartum Depression?
The “baby blues” usually go away three to five days after they start. However, the symptoms of postpartum depression last longer and are more severe. Postpartum depression usually begins within the first month after childbirth, but it can start during pregnancy or up to a year after birth.
Is It the ‘Baby Blues’ or Something More?
Many women have what’s been termed the “baby blues” in the days after childbirth. If you have the “baby blues,” you may:
- Have mood swings
- Feel sad, anxious, or overwhelmed
- Have crying spells
- Lose your appetite
- Have trouble sleeping
It’s important to note that the “baby blues” are a separate condition from postpartum depression. “Baby blues” occurs after the birth of a child and is caused by the heightened stress of taking care of a newborn baby. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 80% of mothers experience the “baby blues.” With “baby blues,” the stress, fatigue, and emotions are mild and last for a couple of days to a week or two. Unlike postpartum depression, the blues go away on their own. Postpartum depression needs to be treated by a doctor or nurse.
- Up to 1 in 7 women experience postpartum depression.
- For half of the women diagnosed with postpartum depression, this is their first episode of depression.
- About half of women who are later diagnosed with postpartum depression may have begun experiencing symptoms during pregnancy – so it’s essential to seek help early. Getting the proper support can make the difference for you, your baby, and your family.
These numbers are likely low as many women do not seek treatment services for postpartum depression.
Knowing the risk factors for postpartum depression is essential to catching it early. You may be more at risk of postpartum depression if you:
- Have a personal history of depression or bipolar disorder
- Have a family history of depression or bipolar disorder
- Do not have support from family and friends
- Were depressed during pregnancy
- Had problems with a previous pregnancy or birth
- Have relationship or financial problems
- Are younger than 20
- Have alcoholism, use illegal drugs, or have some other problem with substances
- Have a baby with special needs
- Have difficulty breastfeeding
- Had an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends that doctors look for and ask about symptoms of depression during and after pregnancy, regardless of a woman’s risk of depression.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
The symptoms and warning signs for postpartum depression are different for everyone but may include:
- A loss of pleasure or interest in things you used to enjoy
- Eating much more, or much less, than you usually do
- Anxiety (all or most of the time) or panic attacks
- Racing, scary thoughts
- Feeling guilty or worthless
- Excessive irritability, anger, or agitation
- Sadness, crying uncontrollably for very long periods of time
- Fear of not being a good mother
- Fear of being left alone with the baby
- Inability to sleep, sleeping too much, or difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Disinterest in the baby, family, and friends
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions
- Thoughts of hurting yourself or the baby (see below for numbers to call to get immediate help).
How Postpartum Depression Affects the Mother-Child Bond
Postpartum depression is a serious condition that can have a wide range of negative impacts on both the mother and the child. Data shows that this condition can affect mother-infant bonding, interfering with the development of crucial emotional connections at an early stage in life. In addition, children born to mothers with postpartum depression may exhibit significant changes in behavior, including increased aggression and impulsiveness, withdrawal, or moodiness.
These emotional and behavioral shifts can have far-reaching consequences for the child as they grow up, causing them to struggle in school and putting them at risk of experiencing other psychological issues later on. Therefore, we must take steps to understand better and address postpartum depression to protect the health and well-being of children across the spectrum of ages and backgrounds.
Find Effective Treatment
Women with postpartum depression who are treated have a much better mother-infant bonding experience than those women who forego treatment. More importantly, infants of mothers who are depressed may also develop a variety of mood and behavior problems and/or obesity later in life.
When it comes to treating postpartum depression, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, different options for treatment may be more or less effective depending on the individual and their specific needs.
Some common treatments for postpartum depression include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), prescription medications, self-care, and outpatient programs. While these treatments can be beneficial, they are often even more effective when combined.
At The Phoenix Recovery Center, we offer comprehensive mental health services designed to help women with postpartum depression overcome their symptoms and regain control of their lives. Whether our clients choose to participate in group therapy, individual counseling, or medication management sessions, our experienced clinicians and psychiatrists are dedicated to helping each client find lasting relief from this debilitating condition.
Get Help From The Phoenix
Postpartum depression is a type of clinical depression that is more severe than the “baby blues” and can last up to a year if left untreated. It affects up to 20% of childbearing women and if left untreated can be life-threatening. Postpartum depression can present itself in many different ways. It can present as an overwhelming feeling of sadness, hopelessness, loss of interest in activities that used to bring joy, withdrawal from friends and family, difficulty bonding with one’s baby, excessive worry about the baby’s health, or irritability and rage. If you think you may be suffering from postpartum depression, it’s important to seek professional help as soon as possible. This condition is treatable and the earlier it is caught the better. The Phoenix Recovery Center acts as a postpartum depression treatment center that offers a continuum of treatment for women struggling with postpartum depression. Call us today at (801) 438-3185.