sad woman smCrying, mood swings, anxiety, or feeling overwhelmed. These are common symptoms of what's called the baby blues, when a woman is recovering from childbirth and adjusting to the new world of motherhood. Almost all new moms experience this for a week or two after their baby is born, but what if the baby blues won't end?

It's estimated that as many as 20percent of new mothers suffer from postpartum depression, which is different from the baby blues. It's when anxieties and dark feelings dominate your life long after you and your baby are home. Postpartum depression is more than feeling sad or anxious. The symptoms can include insomnia or excessive sleep; loss of appetite; lack of interest in your baby; feeling disconnected from your newborn, or thoughts about harming yourself or your baby.

A woman may be at higher risk for postpartum depression if she has a personal or family history of depression, anxiety, or another mental illness; a history of severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS); had a traumatic or disappointing birthing experience, or abruptly discontinued breastfeeding.

Your doctor will check for signs of postpartum depression during the follow-up visit after your baby is born, but if you're experiencing serious symptoms don't wait to discuss this. Treatment for postpartum depression may include antidepressants, thyroid medications or talk therapy with a psychologist.

There are a number of other steps you can take to lessen the affects of postpartum depression. Getting more sunlight, taking fish oil supplements, and using aromatherapy or music therapy may help, along with joining a support group for women who have suffered from postpartum depression.

If you're feeling overwhelmed by new motherhood, take people up on their offers to run errands for you, to help around the house, or to watch the baby so you can rest. Having help in your home can also provide someone who will be there to listen when you need to talk.

If postpartum depression is affecting you, talk with your doctor soon and get the treatment you need during this important time in your life and the life of your baby.


Northline Women's Health Center Locations:

15675 Northline Road

Southgate, MI 48195

(734) 282-3600
(734) 282-3603 - Fax

23050 West Road, Suite 210

Brownstown Twp., MI 48183

(734) 362-7000
(734) 362-7077 - Fax