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Postpartum Depression

Don’t Ignore the Signs

Postpartum depression (PPD) is treatable, but many people do not know the facts. They wait too long to get help, or never seek treatment.

Postpartum depression is serious. Feelings of depression or sadness may cause a new mom to feel confused and alone. By learning to recognize and understand Postpartum depression, a woman can seek support from her family and get medical help. Husbands, partners, friends, and family members often recognize there is a problem even before the woman herself is diagnosed.

Postpartum depression affects one in every 8 to 10 women. It usually occurs within the first year after childbirth, miscarriage or stillbirth. Postpartum depression is not a character flaw or sign of personal weakness. It does not mean that there is anything wrong with your ability to be a mother. The symptoms of Postpartum depression range from mild blues to severe depression.

What Causes Postpartum Depression ?

The exact cause of postpartum depression is unknown. Here are some factors that may contribute:

  • Changes in hormone levels
  • A difficult pregnancy
  • A difficult birth
  • Medical problems (mother or baby)
  • Lack of sleep
  • Feeling alone
  • Loss of freedom
  • Sudden changes in routines
  • Personal or family history of depression
  • Prior experience with PPD
  • High levels of stress

Who Is at Risk?

PPD can affect any woman who:

  • Is pregnant
  • Has recently had a baby
  • Has ended a pregnancy or miscarried
  • Has stopped breast-feeding
  • Women of any age, race, or economic background may be at risk

What Are the Symptoms?

Symptoms may appear during pregnancy, after birth, or within the first year of motherhood. Common symptoms are:

  • Trouble sleeping, or sleeping too much
  • Changes in appetite
  • Feeling irritable, angry, or nervous
  • Feeling exhausted
  • Not enjoying life as much as in the past
  • Lack of interest in the baby
  • Lack of interest in friends and family
  • Lack of interest in sex
  • Feeling guilty or worthless
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Crying uncontrollably
  • Feelings of being a bad mother
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Low energy
  • Thoughts of harming the baby or harming herself
  • Most women experience a brief period of blues after having a baby. Very few women experience extreme symptoms.

Postpartum Depression Screening Tool

The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale has been developed to assist primary care health professionals to detect mothers suffering from postnatal depression. It consists of ten short statements. When completing the survey, please underline which of the four possible responses is closest to how you have been feeling during the past week. You should be able to complete the scale without difficulty in less than 5 minutes.

Please complete the survey and bring it bto your 4-6 week postpartum visit.

Instructions for completing the assessment tool:

Print the appropriate document below: