Having a baby is an exciting and often emotional time, but just after delivery you may experience the “baby blues.” This is a normal, mild form of depression with symptoms that include feeling weepy, fatigued, anxious and overwhelmed.
However, if these feelings last longer than two weeks, you could have postpartum depression. Up to 20% of women experience postpartum depression or postpartum anxiety. It is important to tell your doctor if you have any postpartum depression symptoms.
Women with postpartum depression have multiple symptoms that last for more than a few weeks. These symptoms include:
- Inability to laugh or find things humorous
- Inability to look forward to things or find enjoyment
- Consistent self-blame when things go wrong
- A feeling of anxiousness and worry for no apparent reason
- Feelings of fear and panic
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Inability to sleep despite fatigue
- Negative feelings toward the baby
- Changes in appetite
- Feelings of guilt
- Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
In rare cases, women may experience postpartum psychosis, a rare condition characterized by severe mood swings, hallucinations and irrational thoughts or actions.
If you have any of these symptoms of postpartum depression, help is available. Contact your doctor immediately and let him or her know that you need help with postpartum depression. Online resources also are available.