Postpartum Depression

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Having a baby can be a joyous occasion, but being a new mother can also be stressful and difficult. About 13 percent of pregnant women and new mothers suffer from postpartum depression. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about this condition in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Many women experience mild sadness, tearfulness, anxiety, irritability or mood swings after having a baby. These symptoms are normal and usually decrease in a matter of days or weeks. Less common but much more severe than the baby blues is postpartum depression.

Symptoms of postpartum depression include severe sadness or emptiness, emotional numbness or crying a lot; withdrawal from family, friends or activities that are pleasurable; constant fatigue, trouble sleeping, overeating or loss of appetite; a strong sense of failure or inadequacy; intense concern and worry about the baby or a lack of interest in the baby; thoughts about suicide and fears of harming the baby.

If you are feeling a mild case of the blues after having your baby, you can help yourself by getting plenty of rest, napping when your baby naps, asking for help from family and friends, showering and dressing each day, getting out for a walk and getting a babysitter to watch your baby when you need a break. More severe depressive symptoms require medical evaluation.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.