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Many new moms feel happy one minute and sad the next. If you feel better after a week or so, you probably just had the "baby blues." If it takes you longer to feel better, you may have postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression is when a new mother has a major depressive episode within one month after delivery. Ten to 15 percent of women experience postpartum depression after giving birth. It can make you feel restless, anxious, fatigued and worthless. Some new moms worry they will hurt themselves or their babies. Unlike the "baby blues," postpartum depression does not go away quickly.
Very rarely, new moms develop something even more serious. They may stop eating, have trouble sleeping, and become frantic or paranoid. Women with this more serious condition usually need to be hospitalized.
Researchers think that changes in your hormone levels during and after pregnancy may lead to postpartum depression. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force now recommends screening for depression after pregnancy. Medicine and talk therapy can help you get well.
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More information on Postpartum depression
Read more from womenshealth.gov
- Depression During and After Pregnancy Fact Sheet - This fact sheet discusses depression during and after pregnancy, what might cause it, symptoms you may experience, and how it is treated. It also explains how untreated depression can negatively affect your life.
Explore other publications and websites
- Depression During and After Pregnancy: A Resource for Women, Their Families, and Friends - This booklet provides information on depression during and after pregnancy, addressing a broad range of physical and emotional struggles that pregnant and postpartum women and their families face. The booklet focuses on the possible causes of perinatal depression, how to identify it, what to do, and how it can affect your baby and your family. It also discusses the differences between “baby blues,” perinatal depression, and postpartum psychosis.
- Postpartum Depression (Copyright © Mayo Foundation) - This online publication provides information about postpartum depression. It includes sections on signs and symptoms, causes, risk factors, screening and diagnosis, treatment, and self-care.
- Postpartum Depression and the Baby Blues (Copyright © American Academy of Family Physicians) - This fact sheet provides information about the symptoms of postpartum depression and the steps you can take toward treatment.
- Postpartum Disorders (Copyright © Mental Health America) - This fact sheet describes what postpartum depression (PPD), ‘baby blues”, and postpartum psychosis are, what the symptoms are, and what factors contribute to PPD. Also included are suggested treatments and additional resources.
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Content last updated: February 12, 2016.
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