What are the Symptoms of Postpartum Depression?

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  • Written By: Steve R.
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 24 October 2018
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Postpartum depression is a condition that affects new mothers and hinders them from carrying out daily tasks because they are dealing with symptoms of sadness, anxiety, and even despair. The condition, which affects more than 20 percent of new mothers, can occur up to a year after a baby is born, but typically arises within a month after giving birth. If symptoms do not improve within two weeks, it is a pretty good indication that a new mother is suffering from postpartum depression.

Symptoms of postpartum depression are caused by a variety of factors, including lifestyle and physical changes. If symptoms of postpartum depression become too severe, such as experiencing feelings of suicide, a woman will need to get medical care immediately. Symptoms of postpartum depression typically include anxiety. With this type of anxiety, a mother is overly concerned about her newborn’s health and safety. To the opposite extreme, it is not uncommon for a new mother to have disturbing thoughts of harming her child.

There are many physical symptoms of postpartum depression. Symptoms can include trouble sleeping, or sleeping too much — even when the newborn is awake. A new mother also may experience a loss of interest in sex, as well as a change in appetite. Other typical physical symptoms may include trouble concentrating and remembering things, as well as hyperventilation and numbness or tingling in the limbs.


In addition to physical symptoms, there are numerous mental symptoms of postpartum depression. These may include anger or resentment toward the baby, husband, and other members of the family. A new mother may also experience anxiety or panic attacks, feelings of irritability, and excessive crying. Other indications of postpartum depression may include feeling emotionally numb, impatient, and desperate. New mothers with postpartum depression often experience feelings of doubt and a need to constantly call a pediatrician for reassurance.

A woman dealing with postpartum depression may experience more severe mental symptoms. This may include a lack of concern for her child and an inability to love the child or other family members. A woman also may not trust herself to be left alone with her newborn for fear she may hurt her child.

Women may also develop postpartum psychosis, which involves worse symptoms. Postpartum usually occurs within days or weeks after giving birth. Symptoms of postpartum psychosis often involve feeling isolated and experiencing hallucinations, and paranoia. Postpartum psychosis may also involve irrational thinking, such as having feelings of wanting to commit suicide or harm someone. A woman should seek medical help if her condition does not improve within two weeks and if she is having trouble caring for her child or experiencing thoughts of wanting to hurt someone.



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