Postpartum depression is a common type of severe depression that affects new mothers following childbirth. It’s usually caused by a combination of hormonal changes, psychological adjustment to motherhood and fatigue. Typical symptoms of postpartum depression include insomnia, loss of appetite, intense irritability and difficulty bonding with the baby.
Untreated postpartum depression can last between a few months to three years.
Frequently Asked Questions About Postpartum Depression
Q. How long after having a baby can postpartum depression develop?
A. Postpartum depression is most common within three months of delivery, however it can occur up to one year postpartum.
Q. How is postpartum depression treated?
A. In addition to talk therapy, antidepressants are commonly used to treat postpartum depression. Antidepressants are medications that balance the chemicals in the brain that control moods.
Q. Can antidepressants be passed to my baby through breast milk?
A. Low levels of antidepressants can be transferred to your baby through breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor to find out if antidepressant medications are right for you and your unique needs.
Q. What are the different types of therapy?
A. Though it depends on your unique situation and needs, talk therapy can be one on one, couples or family. If you’re interested in meeting with a therapist and other women struggling with postpartum depression, group therapy may also be used.
Q. How can I avoid postpartum depression?
A. If you have a history of depression it’s important to talk to your doctor about your risk of developing postpartum depression. It might be beneficial to begin antidepressant medications during prenatal care to prevent it.
Q. What should I do if I think I have postpartum depression?
A. While it’s not unusual to feel sad after having a baby, these “baby blues” should only last a few weeks. If you’re still not feeling yourself a few weeks post partum, you may be struggling with postpartum depression. If you think you’re struggling with this severe type of depression, talk to your doctor or OB/GYN as soon as possible to get the treatment you need to feel more like yourself again.
For a skilled, compassionate, Mobile, AL OB/GYN, call Bay Area Physicians at 251-344-5900.