Recognizing postpartum depression

Hormones in the body or a stressful life event can cause chemical changes in the brain that lead to depression. Often, depression is not recognized or treated because some normal pregnancy changes cause similar symptoms. The symptoms of postpartum depression are similar to symptoms for depression, such as feeling sad, blue or unhappy.

Additional symptoms include:

  • Feeling numb or disconnected from your baby.
  • Having scary or negative thoughts about the baby, like thinking someone will take your baby away or hurt your baby.
  • Worrying that you will hurt the baby.
  • Feeling guilty about not being a good mom, or ashamed that you cannot care for your baby.
  • Feeling restless or irritable.
  • Sadness, feeling like crying a lot.
  • Either being overly concerned about the new baby or not concerned at all.
  • Fear of hurting the baby or yourself.
  • Little or no energy.
  • Trouble sleeping well.
  • Trouble focusing. Difficulty remembering things or making decisions.

If you are worried about the way you have been feeling, it is important to tell your healthcare team about your concerns.

You can recover from postpartum depression. It is important to get treated early.

There are two common treatments that your doctor/provider often recommends based on the degree of your depression. Patients can receive therapy, which involves talking to a therapist, psychologist or social worker. Doctors can also prescribe medicine to help relieve the symptoms of depression.

Take the depression screening test.