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Do I Have The Baby Blues Or Postpartum Depression?

Pregnancy is filled with many emotions and sensations.  Not only are our bodies changing, but there are also wishes, hopes, plans and expectations that bombard us both from the inside and outside.

Typically during pregnancy, appetite increases, there’s an eager anticipation of the new life to come, and sleep is good (except for the usual physical adjustments).  Normal doubts and worries can be sprinkled throughout the pregnancy experience, but they shouldn’t dominate our days or nights.

When you ask yourself, “Do I emotionally feel like ‘me’ most of the day?,” “Am I able to sleep at night?,” “Am I generally looking forward to the baby coming?,” and “Am I feeling hungry?,” the answer should be “Yes.”

If not, seek out a specialized health care practitioner who can help determine what’s happening.  Depression and anxiety affect just as many pregnant women as new mothers and can happen to the strongest, most intelligent and loving moms.

Every trimester you should either be given a formal screening or simply asked a few key questions to determine how you’re doing emotionally.  Receiving the right help during pregnancy will not only be best for you and your entire family, but it will also help you minimize the risk of postpartum depression.

Another resource is the free app PPD Gone!  Download it for reading and listening material about the prevention and treatment of depression during pregnancy and new motherhood.

Most new moms experience the normal “Baby Blues” – a few days to two weeks of mild ups and downs, weepiness, and stress.  But, what if the normal blues don’t disappear after two weeks following delivery, or what if the feelings become more intense? Learn more about how to prevent the baby blues here.

Postpartum depression (PPD) is the most common of the six perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs) and affects about 1 in 7 new mothers.  The primary cause of PPD is the enormous shifting of reproductive hormones following the delivery.  In addition, sleep deprivation, inadequate nutrition, isolation, poor partner support, health issues of mom or baby, a high needs infant, or other major stressors can cause or make PPD worse.

Symptoms of Postpartum Depression

The good news is, PPD is nothing to be afraid of – it’s 100% treatable! It doesn’t necessarily go away by itself, so the faster you get help, generally, the faster it disappears.

Some common symptoms of PPD are:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Difficulty sleeping at night (even when the baby is sleeping)
  • Big appetite changes (usually a decrease)
  • Anger
  • Worry
  • Guilt
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Frequent crying
  • Lack of emotion
  • Hopelessness (feeling of nothing to look forward to)

If you feel you might be suffering from PPD or postpartum anxiety, find a psychotherapist who specializes in treating PPD.  Don’t settle for a therapist just because she’s covered by your insurance.  You deserve the best help and your family needs you to be well as soon as possible.

Here are a few questions to ask when interviewing the potential therapist:

  1.  How many days/weeks have you received specific training in the perinatal mood and anxiety disorders? (The therapist might mention the Postpartum Support International training or the Postpartum Action Institute training, for example).
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