Postpartum depression and the more severe postpartum psychosis are of major concern today, especially to new mothers or soon-to-be moms. Postpartum depression is also known as postnatal depression, or simply as the acronym PPD.What Are the “Baby Blues”?
Feeding, diapering and taking care of a new baby can be overwhelming. Forty to 85 percent of women experience intense highs and lows as they adjust to life with a new baby. Feeling anxious and crying for reasons she can’t explain are actually normal behaviors for the mother of a new baby.
With feedings every few hours, the mother of a new baby is likely to feel tired and have trouble falling asleep after a deep sleep has been interrupted. She may have trouble concentrating and probably feels irritable. Sudden weight gain and weight loss are both normal, as are fluctuations in appetite.
These are symptoms of the “baby blues.” According to most research, these symptoms may last several weeks, often peaking during the first week following delivery. They usually go away by themselves.
If feelings of sadness persist more than a few weeks, a woman may be suffering from postpartum depression. How can you tell the difference?
What is Postpartum Depression?
Having a baby changes everything. A woman’s body changes drastically. Her personal history and feelings about parenting can bring up very powerful emotions. The family may be financially and emotionally strained. Social pressures may be mounting.
The majority of research into the condition shows that, for about ten to fifteen percent of women and more than a fourth of all adolescent mothers, childbirth results in postnatal depression.
Most women who experience postnatal depression are affected within the first six weeks, and often are affected for more than six months. However PPD research reveals that about 25 percent of women who don’t get help during this time are still depressed a year later.