Having a baby is a unique joy, yet it can also bring profound sadness to some women.
In fact, about 13 percent of new mothers will experience a major depressive episode during their baby's first year.
Postpartum depression, or PPD, affects baby as well as mom because it can keep you from taking care of your newborn and being in tune with your infant's needs. You're more likely to stop breast-feeding too soon and less likely to see to baby's well-being, like skipping pediatrician visits.
PPD can develop after any pregnancy, not just the first one. It's more likely among women who lack a support system, have financial problems or are under significant stress. Because of these predictors, it may be possible to take steps during pregnancy to prevent it or minimize symptoms, so share these concerns with your health care provider.
Factors that put you at risk for postpartum depression include:
It's also important to know the difference between "baby blues" and postpartum depression so you can seek appropriate treatment after the baby arrives. The baby blues last from a few days up to two weeks with milder symptoms like changes in mood and trouble concentrating.
Signs of the baby blues include:
Postpartum depression mood swings are severe and persistent -- you may withdraw from everyone around you and fail to bond with your baby.
Signs of postpartum depression include:
Don't assume depression will go away on its own. Counseling and medication can help right away, so don't delay in reaching out.
Learn more about postpartum depression at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
This content is intended for informational purposes only. It should not replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you think you have a medical emergency, call 911 or your doctor immediately.