The Women's Health Resource Center
Postpartum depression should be distinguished from postpartum "blues." Postpartum blues are the most common and least severe type of emotional problem women may experience after delivery. Symptoms include sadness, anxiety, tearfulness and trouble sleeping. These symptoms usually appear within several days of delivery and go away by 10 to 12 days after the birth. Between 50 and 80 percent of women will experience postpartum blues. Usually the only treatment needed is reassurance and some help with household chores and care of the baby. About 20 percent of women who have postpartum blues will go on to develop more lasting depression. So it is very important to let your doctor know if you experience “blues” that last longer than two weeks.
The symptoms of postpartum depression (PPD) — which may last from a few weeks to up to a year — may be quite intense. If you have postpartum depression, you may feel unable to take care of your baby or yourself. Daily tasks, such as dressing, cooking, and working around your home or on the job, may seem impossible. Like some women with PPD, you may feel too ashamed of your feelings to tell others, including your partner. You may be afraid that if you talk about your symptoms — which may include thoughts about harming your baby — your infant may be taken away from you. But this is not likely. With professional help, almost all women who experience PPD are able to overcome their feelings and take good care of themselves and their children. If you think you have postpartum depression, it's important to seek help as soon as possible.
Women most at risk for postpartum depression are those who have a history of depression or anxiety disorder or who have had PPD before.
For more information contact the Women's Health Resource Center at 415-600-0500 or Newborn Connections at 415-600-2229.
- Find support groups and classes for new moms at Newborn Connections
- For a consultation with a behavioral health professional, contact our Behavioral Health Clinic
What you can do…
- Seek diagnosis and treatment by your health care provider or a trained mental health professional.
- Seek out companionship, discuss your feelings with a friend, partner or family, join a support group.
- Eat a balanced diet and exercise daily.
- Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs.
- Get plenty of rest, avoid overloading with non-essential tasks and identify persons who can help you.
- Seek help immediately if you have any thoughts of harming yourself or your baby.