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If you have the "baby blues" after childbirth, you're not
alone—about half of women have a few days of mild depression after having a
baby. However unsettling, a certain amount of
insomnia, irritability, tears, overwhelmed feelings, and mood swings are
normal. Baby blues usually peak around the fourth postpartum day and subside in
less than 2 weeks, when hormonal changes have settled down. But you can have
bouts of baby blues throughout your baby's first year.
depressed feelings have lasted more than 2 weeks, your body isn't recovering
from childbirth as expected. Postpartum depression:
To prevent serious problems for you and your baby, work with your doctor now to treat your symptoms.
are having thoughts of hurting yourself, your baby, or anyone else,
see your doctor immediately or call 911 for emergency medical
a medical condition that requires treatment. It's not a sign of weakness. Be
honest with yourself and those who care about you. Tell them about your
struggle. You, your doctor, and your friends and family can team up to treat
your postpartum depression symptoms.
Talk to your doctor about
your postpartum depression (PPD) symptoms, and decide what type of treatment
is right for you. (You may also have your
thyroid function checked, to make sure a thyroid
problem isn't causing your symptoms.)
Breast-feeding babies whose mothers take an antidepressant
do not often have side effects. But they can. If you are taking an antidepressant
while breast-feeding, talk to your doctor and your baby's doctor about what
types of side effects to look for.
Other Works Consulted
Cunningham FG, et al. (2010). Psychiatric disorders section of neurological and psychiatric disorders. In Williams Obstetrics, 23rd ed., pp. 1175–1184. New York: McGraw-Hill.
O'Hara MW, Segre LS (2008). Psychologic disorders of pregnancy and the postpartum period. In RS Gibbs et al., eds., Danforth's Obstetrics and Gynecology, 10th ed., pp. 504–514. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
March 8, 2012
Patrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine
& Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
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