Postpartum Depression

(Also Known As: Postpartum, Depression, Baby Blues, Pregnancy Depression, Maternity Blues, Postpartum Exhaustion)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

What is Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression is a clinical condition affecting women usually after childbirth. After giving birth, a woman undergoes normal postpartum emotional changes and it is important to distinguish it from a postpartum depression. The distinguishable features of a postpartum depression consist of the frequency, duration and intensity of the emotional changes felt by the woman. 1

Mothers who just gave birth to a child usually feel emotional changes such as feeling sad and anxious periodically that may occur during the first few days after birth. This condition is called baby blues or postpartum blues, which normally occurs after child birth. This emotional transitory moodiness is often manifested with tearfulness, hypochondrias, irritability, impaired concentration, sleeplessness, headache, and isolation. This condition is different from postpartum depression and they are not a precursor to any postnatal psychosis and postpartum depression that may occur. The periods of depression usually lasts for 10 days in postpartum/baby blues.

Another condition similar to postpartum depression is the postpartum exhaustion, which is often triggered by extreme fatigue and symptoms that include sleep deprivation from hormonal changes in the woman’s body after giving birth. The condition may either be mild or severe, usually lasts only between 1 to 20 days, and is highly responsive to such improvements as getting enough sleep. This condition usually occurs in women whose babies suffer from severe colic or other causes that make the mother observe abnormal sleep schedules.

Postpartum depression usually occurs when the depression felt persist up to 6 months or more. The severity and duration usually vary in each woman. Those with severe depression usually take longer to get well. 2 In extreme cases a more severe form of postpartum depression usually develops into postpartum psychosis.

Could You Have Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum Depression Topics

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