What is postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a kind of depression that some women get after having a baby. It's strong feelings of sadness, anxiety (worry) and tiredness that last for a long time after giving birth. These feelings can make it hard for you to take care of yourself and your baby. PPD can start during pregnancy and last through the child’s first year of life. It’s a medical condition that needs treatment to get better.

Is PPD the same as the baby blues? 

No. PPD lasts longer and is more serious than baby blues. Baby blues are feelings of sadness you may have in the first few days after having a baby. You may have trouble sleeping, be moody or cranky, and cry a lot. If you have feelings that last longer than two weeks, tell your health care provider. He or she can check to see if you may have PPD.

What causes PPD? 

We’re not exactly sure what causes PPD, but here is what you need to know.

  • It can happen to any woman after having a baby
  • It’s not your fault - You didn’t do anything to cause PPD. It doesn’t make you a bad person or a bad mother.
  • You are not alone - About 1 in 7 women has PPD after giving birth. It's the most common complication for women who have just had a baby and affects women from every culture, age, income level and race. Treatment can help you feel better.

What are the signs of PPD?

You may have PPD if you experience five or more of these symptoms for more than two weeks:

  • Feeling depressed most of the day every day

  • Having severe mood swings – easy to anger

  • Having little interest in things you normally like to do

  • Feeling tired all the time

  • Gaining or losing weight

  • Having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much

  • Having trouble bonding with your baby

  • Thinking about hurting yourself or your baby

  • Thinking about killing yourself

If you are experiencing these symptoms, call your healthcare provider right away. There are things you and your provider can do to help you feel better. If you’re worried about hurting yourself or your baby, call 911 right away.

Can PPD affect your baby? 

Yes. PPD can make it hard for you to take care of your baby. If you have PPD, your baby may:

  • Have problems bonding with you

  • Cry a lot

  • Develop slowly

  • Have behavior problems

If you see these signs in your baby, tell your provider. Getting treatment early can help both you and your baby.

How is PPD treated? 

Your health care provider may ask you some questions, talk to you about your symptoms or perform medical tests to determine if you have PPD. Treatment can include a combination of counseling, medication or a support group. Exercise, eating healthy foods, getting enough rest, and asking your friends and family for support may also help your treatment work better.

*Source: March of Dimes: https://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/postpartum-depression.aspx

Here are local resources that can help:

Alabama Department of Mental Health
(334) 242-3454
www.mh.alabama.gov

BBH Wellness Services
(334) 676-2368
www.bbhwellnessservices.com

Behavioral Medicine, PC
(334) 272-3889

Family Guidance Center
(334) 270-4100
www.familyguidancecenter.org

Health Services, Inc.
(334) 420-5001
www.healthyservicesinc.org

Lighthouse Counseling Center
(334) 286-5980
www.lighthousehelp.org

Mental Health America Montgomery
(334) 262-5500

Montgomery Mental Health Authority
(334) 279-7380
www.mamha.org

Therapeutic Counseling Services, LLC
(334) 239-8328

Additional information

 

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