Prevea Health

What are the signs of post-partum depression?


The baby blues are very common, often starting suddenly on the third or fourth day after birth. About 50 to 80 percent of new mothers cry and feel overwhelmed, crabby, restless and anxious. Some women experience a lot of ups and downs, feeling like a roller coaster. The baby blues are unpleasant, but they usually go away on their own in less than two weeks. Take good care of yourself. Ask for and accept help from others.

When is it more than just the baby blues?

Every mother will experience one or more of the feelings listed below after childbirth. Are those feelings lasting more than two weeks or the majority of your day?

Is your significant other concerned or worried about you being:
  • Sad most of the time
  • Angry
  • Guilty
  • Nervous
  • Alone
  • Inadequate
  • Hopeless
  • Unable to pay attention
  • Crabby or irritable

Do you tend to:
  • Cry for no reason
  • Feel panicked
  • Worry about your health or baby’s health
  • Have trouble sleeping
  • Have a change in appetite
  • Have difficulty making decisions
  • Have difficulty taking care of baby

What is postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression is a temporary illness that can be treated with therapy, medication and caring support. About one in ten new mothers feel depressed for more than a couple of weeks. The depression may begin soon after birth or anytime during the year after birth. Some feelings could be caused by physical conditions.

Risk factors for postpartum depression

Women are at greater risk than others for postpartum depression if they have had any of the following:
  • Postpartum depression after an earlier pregnancy
  • A personal history or a family history of depression, anxiety or mental illness
  • Depression during pregnancy

Getting help

Let your health care provider know if you are depressed or anxious. If you are in additional/urgent need of help, the following support is available:
  • Talk to your OB provider
  • Call the Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Hotline at (800) 722-2295 (24-hours, 7 days a week)
  • Visit Depression After Delivery, Inc
  • Contact Postpartum Support International at (805) 967-7636 or (800) 944-4PPD (4773) or visit their website