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The Baby Blues, Postpartum Depression and Psychosis

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The Baby Blues is TemporaryRelated Articles
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder After Childbirth
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Teen Pregnancy Links
Postpartum Support Groups (state by state)

Mild moodiness and "blues" are very common after having a baby, but when symptoms are more than mild or last more than a few days, help should be sought. Below we have outlined the three separate characteristics and degrees of Postpartum mood disorders. It is important to understand that some forms of postpartum depression can be extremely serious for both mother and baby.

Postpartum 'blues' - the name most commonly used to describe the weeping and emotional instability which occurs during the first postpartum week include symptoms like:

   -   Lack of Sleep
   -   No Energy
   -   Food Craving or Loss of Appetite
   -   Feeling Tired Even after Sleeping
   -   Anxiety and Excessive Worry
   -   Great Concern over Physical Changes
   -   Confusion and Nervousness
   -   Feeling, "I'm not myself; this isn't me"
   -   Lack of Confidence
   -   Sadness
   -   Feeling Overwhelmed
   -   Crying more than Usual
   -   Hyperactivity or Excitability
   -   Overly Sensitive
   -   Feelings Hurt Easily
   -   Irritability
   -   Lack of Feeling for the Baby

The Baby blues, usually occur 1-3 days after the baby’s birth. This is fairly common as incidence rates range from 500 to 800 cases per 1000 births (50-80%).

Postpartum Depression or moderate depression disorderGet Help in Your Local Area - more debilitating than the baby blues. Researchers suggest that only 20% of women experiencing this form of depression seek treatment. Unfortunately, many should. Symptoms may include:

   -   Headaches
   -   Numbness, Tingling in Limbs
   -   Chest Pains, Heart Palpitations
   -   Hyperventilation
   -   Despondency or Despair
   -   Feelings of Inadequacy
   -   Inability to Cope
   -   Hopelessness
   -   Over Concern for Baby's Health
   -   Impaired Concentration or Memory
   -   Loss of Normal Interests
   -   Thoughts of Suicide
   -   Bizarre or Strange Thoughts
   -   Panic Attacks
   -   Hostile
   -   New Fears of Phobias
   -   Nightmares
   -   Extreme Guilt
   -   No Feelings for Baby
   -   Over Concern for Baby
   -   Feeling "out of control"
   -   Feeling like "you are going crazy"

This form of postpartum depression occurs less frequently than the baby blues ranging from 30 to 200 cases per 1000 births (3-20%). Depression may occur at any time after delivery, up to one year.. The symptoms may last from a few weeks to several months.

It's not Hopeless - Get Help Now!Postpartum Psychosis or puerperal psychosis - a relatively rare disorder occuring in approximately 1% of new mothers following childbirth with symptoms similar to general psychotic reactions. Symptoms may include:

   -   Refusal to Eat
   -   Inability to Stop Activity
   -   Frantic Excessive Energy
   -   Extreme Confusion
   -   Loss of Memory
   -   Incoherence
   -   Bizarre Hallucinations
   -   Suspiciousness
   -   Irrational Statements
   -   Bizarre Behavior
   -   Preoccupation with Trivia

This rare disorder occurs severely and quickly, usually within the first three months: 80% of all cases show up within 3-14 days after a symptom-free period.

Seek the advice of a qualified physician for evaluation if you or a loved one is suffering with: sleep disturbances, eating problems arise, intense depressed feelings occur, you begin to withdraw or isolate socially, or interaction with the new baby is suffering.

There are numerous medications and treatments available for these disorders even for breast-feeding mothers. If your physician downplays or ignores your plea for help, find one who will listen.

Prevention Strategies for New Mothers and Fathers

Get help from husband, dependable friends, and relatives

Make friends with other couples who are experienced with child-bearing and rearing

Don't overload yourself with unimportant tasks

Don't move soon after the baby arrives or make other stressful changes

Don't be over concerned with keeping up appearances

Get plenty of rest and sleep

Don't be a nurse to relatives and others at this time

Talk to your husband, family and experienced friends, and discuss your plans and worries

Don't give up outside interests, but cut down on responsibilities and rearrange schedules

Arrange for baby-sitters early

Get a family doctor early

Excerpts from Postpartum Support International and Dr. Cheryl Beck, Professor and Researcher at the University of Connecticut 2002.

Related Articles
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder After Childbirth
Health and Safety Links
Pregnancy Resources - Safe Houses
Adoption Agency Locator
Teen Pregnancy Links
Postpartum Support Groups (state by state)

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Postpartum Depression, Psychosis and the Baby Blues