The Reality of Postpartum Depression
By: A Lady's Doctor
What is Postpartum depression?
Pregnancy and childbirth are some of the most physically and mentally challenging times in a woman’s life. Although the arrival of a baby is typically a time of joy, there are also many other emotions that can flood a woman’s mind during this time. Hormonal shifts after childbirth, especially, can lead to mild baby blues for some or intense depression for others.
Although many women experience some degree of the “blues” after birth, 50-75% to be exact, some form a more serious condition known as postpartum depression. Up to 15% of new mothers will develop postpartum depression which can affect everything in their lives, including their relationship with their new baby.
Although your doctor will screen you for symptoms of postpartum depression it’s still important to know what to look out for and how to get help when you need it.
Symptoms to watch out for include:*
- Depressed mood or severe mood swings
- Excessive crying
- Difficulty bonding with your baby
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Loss of appetite or eating much more than usual
- Inability to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much
- Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy
- Reduced interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
- Intense irritability and anger
- Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt or inadequacy
- Severe anxiety and panic attacks
- Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
How to get help:
As overwhelming as new motherhood can be, it’s still important for you to take care of your mental health, for the sake of you and your child. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your family, friends, and physician if you feel that you are experiencing postpartum depression.
Contact your physician as soon as possible if your symptoms don’t go away after two weeks, seem to be worsening, and cause you to not be able to care for yourself or your baby.
If you have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby you should:
- Call 911 for emergencies
- Call a suicide hotline. In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or use their webchat on suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat
- Seek help from your primary care provider or other health care professional
- Call a mental health professional
- Contact someone you trust
Postpartum depression is treatable. Your doctor will work with you to find a solution that will relieve your symptoms. Treatment options include, but are not limited to, therapy, medication such as antidepressants, brexanolone, esketamine, and more.
Please call or visit any of our locations to get help for postpartum depression today:
Dr. Sefa-Boakye of A Lady’s Doctor has been practicing medicine since 1989 and is dedicated to ensuring his patients are happy and healthy with regular gynecological exams. Learn more about our clinic here: