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mother and babyEvery mom-to-be has heard of it -- the “baby blues” that can hit you right after you’ve given birth. It’s quite common to feel a bit sad, fatigued and worried in those first days of new motherhood. But what if the “baby blues” won't end?

It's estimated that 1 out of 7 new mothers may suffer from postpartum depression, which is different from the “baby blues.” This is when anxieties and dark feelings dominate your life for weeks after you and your baby are home. Postpartum depression can include insomnia or excessive sleep; loss of appetite; lack of interest in your baby or feeling disconnected from your newborn.

 

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; had a traumatic or disappointing birthing experience, or abruptly discontinued breastfeeding.

A more serious condition known as postpartum OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) can include disturbing or unwanted thoughts about harming yourself or your baby. A very rare condition known as postpartum psychosis may include delusions, hallucinations, hyperactivity, extreme mood swings, and other intense symptoms. If this happens, contact your doctor immediately or call 9-1-1.

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

If you're feeling overwhelmed by new motherhood, accept offers from family and friends to run errands for you or help around the house, or to watch the baby so you can rest.  Having help like this can also provide someone who will be there to listen when you need to talk.

Postpartum depression is not your fault; it’s an emotional and physical response to a significant life event.  Remember that early intervention leads to faster and easier recovery, so don’t wait to ask your doctor for help.

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