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Home > Patient & Family Resources > Health Library > Depression: Managing Postpartum Depression
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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 they have a baby. This can be upsetting, but it's normal to have some insomnia, irritability, tears, overwhelmed feelings, and mood swings. Baby blues usually peak around the fourth day after the baby is born. They tend to improve 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.
If your 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.
If you are having thoughts of hurting yourself, your baby, or anyone else, see your doctor immediately or call 911 for emergency medical care.
Depression is 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 symptoms. Work together to decide what type of treatment is right for you. (You may also have your thyroid function checked. This test is to make sure that a thyroid problem isn't causing your symptoms.)
Breastfeeding babies whose mothers take an antidepressant do not often have side effects. But they can. If you are taking an antidepressant while breastfeeding, 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.
Current as of:
September 23, 2020
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Patrice Burgess MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineLisa S. Weinstock MD - Psychiatry
Current as of: September 23, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Patrice Burgess MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Lisa S. Weinstock MD - Psychiatry
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