It’s natural to feel strong emotions when you’re pregnant and just after you’ve had a baby. You may feel elated, or you may feel sad. Many women have the “baby blues” just after birth. They feel sad, impatient or irritable. These feelings usually go away in a week or two. They don’t always need to be treated by a health care provider.

For some women, feelings of sadness are much more intense. Much more serious and lasting than the “baby blues,” some women experience postpartum depression, or PPD. Changes in hormones and brain chemistry are linked to PPD; these are not things you can control, and you may need help.

The following are the most common symptoms of postpartum depression. However, each woman experiences these symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

Fatigue or exhaustion
Poor concentration
A fear of harming the newborn or yourself
Mood swings characterized by exaggerated highs and/or lows
Diminished libido (sex drive)
Feelings of guilt
Low self-esteem
Uncontrolled crying and with no known cause
Overconcern/overattentiveness for the newborn and/or a lack of interest for the newborn
Appetite changes
Sleep disturbances
Memory loss
Feelings of isolation

Treatment for postpartum depression:

It is important to note that most women who experience the “baby blues,” postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, and/or postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder have never experienced these types of symptoms before, especially with such intensity. In any case, it is important for women to seek proper treatment early – not only to ensure that the newborn remains safe and properly cared for, but also so that the mother can resolve these symptoms and experience all the joys of motherhood.

This assessment asks you questions to help you figure out your risk for postpartum depression.

This original blog post can be found at UMass Memorial Health Care's Simply Well blog.