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If you just gave birth and are feeling depressed, you are not alone. In fact, the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that anywhere between 10 to 15 percent of women experience moderate to severe depression following the birth of a child. Called postpartum depression, this type of depression can occur as early as only hours or days following childbirth and can last for up to a year or more.
Postpartum depression, also sometimes referred to as postnatal depression, means depression that happens “after birth. ” Postpartum depression is more than just what some refer to as the “baby blues.” It occurs when these so-called “baby blues” do not go away after the first month of having a baby.
While signs and symptoms of postpartum depression vary from woman to woman, many common signs include:
• Afraid of being alone with the new baby
• Inability to care for yourself
• Inability to care for the new baby
• Energy loss
• Guilty feelings
• Lack of interest in the new baby
• Loss of interest in everyday activities
• Sleep issues
• Thoughts of suicide or death
• Withdrawn feelings
• Worthlessness feelings
It’s important to know that there are treatments available to manage postpartum depression. Treatment may consist of one or more of the following:
• Extra Help: A new baby can be overwhelming with all of his/her daily needs. A woman suffering from postpartum depression should not be afraid or ashamed to ask for extra help with the baby from time to time.
• Psychotherapy: Also referred to as ‘talk therapy,’ psychotherapy may be helpful for some new mothers.
• Support Groups: Some women feel that talking about their feelings with other women who are experiencing the same issues can be helpful.
• Medication: Antidepressant medications may be prescribed to treat postpartum depression. The type of medication prescribed may vary depending on whether or not the mother is breast-feeding.
Source: National Institute of Mental Health
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