Postpartum Depression: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Postpartum depression is more than just the "blues" after giving birth. The symptoms include

  • feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness,
  • depression,
  • anxiety,
  • problems bonding with the baby,
  • sadness,
  • possible feelings of wanting to hurt oneself or the baby.

In the case of suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming the baby, postpartum depression is a medical emergency, and medical care should be accessed immediately. Early signs and symptoms of postpartum depression can begin any time in the year after the birth. Symptoms of postpartum depression last longer than the blues and may interfere with a woman's daily life and activities. Not all women with postpartum depression experience all of the symptoms, and the symptoms can vary among affected women. (For example, some affected women may sleep excessively while others report insomnia.)

Postpartum depression causes

It is unknown exactly why some women develop postpartum depression. A combination of genetic factors, hormonal changes, and environmental influences is likely involved.

REFERENCE:

Joy, Saju. "Postpartum Depression." Medscape.com. Apr. 17, 2014. <https://reference.medscape.com/article/271662-overview>.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/21/2015

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