| Depression After Delivery
When caring for your baby is not what you expected
You are not alone
The birth of a baby can bring on a flood of new emotions -- elation, fear, excitement, sadness or worry. It’s normal for a new mom to experience a range of emotions. Many women have the “baby blues” just after birth. They have periods of feeling sad, anxious, or irritable. These feelings usually go away within a week or two.
However, for about 20% of women (1 in 5), feelings of agitation, sadness or anxiety are much more intense and last more than two weeks. These intense feelings are called postpartum depression. There is no reason to feel embarrassed or ashamed. Postpartum depression is common. It is not anyone’s fault and is very treatable. It is also serious and can affect you, your relationships and your baby, if left untreated.
Postpartum depression may not be present right away. This illness can occur any time in your baby’s first year. Women who have history of depression are more susceptible to this illness. Other risk factors include stress, lack of support, hormone changes, trauma and other factors. The symptoms may not go away without treatment. You deserve to enjoy every moment with your baby. If you think you may have postpartum depression, tell your doctor or another health care provider.
It is easy to confuse the symptoms of postpartum depression with normal hormone changes. How can you tell if it’s serious? Watch for these symptoms:
- Feeling sad, anxious or “empty”
- Lack of energy, feeling very tired
- Lack of interest in normal activities
- Changes in sleeping or eating patterns
- Feeling hopeless, helpless, guilty or worthless
- Feeling moody and irritable
- Problems concentrating or making simple decisions
- Thoughts about hurting your baby, even if you will not act on them
- Thoughts about death or suicide
Things you can do
Being a good mom means taking care of yourself. If you take care of yourself, you can take care of your baby and your family.
- Get help. Talk with your provider, call an emergency support line or ask a loved one to help you get the care you need.
- Ask your provider about medicines that can be safely used for postpartum depression.
- Talk to a therapist, alone or in group therapy.
- Ask your faith or community leaders about other support resources.
- Learn as much as you can about postpartum depression.
- Get support from family and friends. Ask for help when you need it.
- Keep active by walking, stretching, swimming and so on.
- Get enough rest.
- Eat a healthy diet.
- Don’t give up! It may take more than one try to get the help you need.
The best treatment
The most effective treatments for postpartum depression include:
- Individual or group psychotherapy focused on self care and stress reduction skills.
- Antidepressant medicine that can be safely used while breastfeeding (prescribed by your doctor).
Risk Factors and Self Assessment
Download our risk factors and self assessment questionnaire (PDF)
View our videos on postpartum depression
Resources in Central Minnesota
If you are in a crisis, call:
Central Minnesota Mental Health Crisis Line: (320) 253-5555
St. Cloud Hospital Behavioral Access: (320) 255-5774. Ask for the Behavioral Access Nurse.
If you are seeking help, but are not in a crisis, call:
St. Cloud Hospital
Behavioral Health Clinic: (320) 229-4977. Ask to schedule an appointment for a postpartum depression assessment.
Speak with your primary care doctor and tell him or her you are concerned you may have postpartum depression.
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Center for Advanced Maternal, Fetal & Newborn Care
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