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Identifying the Warning Signs of Postpartum Depression
Health and Fitness

Identifying the Warning Signs of Postpartum Depression

Having a baby can be the most joyful moment in a new mother’s life. But what happens if depression follows that joy?

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a serious mental condition that can affect women who have just given birth. The illness involves the brain but can also affect your behavior and physical health–and it's also quite common. The CDC reveals that one in eight women experience symptoms of postpartum depression. If your feelings of sadness or emptiness linger for a long time, they can interfere with your daily life. You may also feel disconnected from your baby and end up not creating an emotional bond with them. Postpartum depression can be detrimental to you and your baby’s health.

Identifying warning signs of postpartum depression is necessary and potentially life-saving for you and your child. If you suspect that you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression, check out this guide below:

Warning Signs of Postpartum Depression

Emotional Signs

You can experience a range of strong emotions as you interact with your new baby for the first time. It’s natural to feel overwhelming excitement and happiness, but also sadness, guilt, and anxiety.

Postpartum depression can easily be mistaken for baby blues. Dr. Stephanie Liu emphasizes that postpartum depression is more intense and consists of prolonged periods of somber moods. On the other hand, the symptoms of baby blues are mild and only last a couple of days after giving birth.

It’s essential to look out for signs such as excessive crying for long periods, extreme changes in mood, and intense feelings of anxiety that prohibit you from performing your usual daily tasks.

Mental Signs

Having an altered mental state is also a telltale sign of postpartum depression. Watch out if you are unable to concentrate on your tasks or if you forget things quickly. If you find yourself being excessively indecisive or easily distracted, unlike before, it may be worth it to step back and assess your condition.

Postpartum psychosis is a rare but severe form of mental illness that occurs within a few weeks of giving birth. The National Library of Medicine lists its symptoms as extreme confusion, loss of touch with reality, paranoia, delusions, disorganized thought process, and hallucinations. These are considered psychiatric emergencies and require immediate attention.

Physical and Behavioral Signs

Postpartum depression can also affect a mother’s behavior and physical condition. Because of the emotional and mental stress this condition can cause, it’s critical to watch out for body aches and pains, changes in appetite, and chronic fatigue.

Finally, sudden behavioral changes can be most indicative of postpartum depression. If you find yourself suddenly withdrawn from your loved ones, not excited about caring for your baby or losing interest in your hobbies and usual activities, your behavior could mean something more serious.

Seeking Help

It’s important to know that postpartum depression is not a weakness nor a mother’s fault. Sometimes it can be down to hormone changes or a complication when giving birth. Receiving timely medical care can help you address your symptoms and benefit you and your baby.

One of the best courses of action would be to seek help from medical professionals. Maryville University suggests that a psychologist or counselor may be the best option to turn to if you feel like you’re experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression. Both professionals have a similar goal: to help people achieve a better state of mental health. As a clinical researcher, a psychologist may be able to use methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy to address PPD. On the other hand, a counselor may help you find ways to cope and work through PPD and even include your partner in the process through family counseling.

On top of seeking medical help, you can lean on a supportive community such as local organizations that advocate for mothers. You can also connect with a wider network of new mothers online. We've cultivated an online community called Moms Beyond where you can find encouragement and insights from mothers in similar situations.

Finally, you can also consider opening up to family and friends. Having reliable supporters within your immediate circles can help you watch out for recurring signs and patterns and point out if something is amiss.

Knowing the warning signs of postpartum depression can help you overcome it should it affect you after giving birth. Seeking help is a huge step towards having a strong bond with your new bundle of joy.

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Rosetta J

Rosetta James is a part-time writer and full-time mom to two teenagers. Parenting is never an easy task, which is why Rosetta aims to share her tips and tricks with every mother in the community.

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