Be Aware: Postpartum Depression or Baby Blues?

Did you know that almost 17% or 1 out of 6 women experience some form of postpartum depression or anxiety during the first year after delivery?

by Shayla Marciano, RN, BSN, RNC-OB, Prescott Women’s Clinic

Postpartum depression is typically associated with anxiety symptoms, panic attacks, lack of interest, impaired concentration, and loss of appetite. It can also include thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, and overwhelming feelings of guilt. 

Postpartum depression differs from the baby blues. The baby blues typically peak at five days after giving birth but usually resolve within 2 weeks. Baby blues are experienced in up to 85% of the general population. Symptoms of the baby blues include feeling overwhelmed or anxious, irritable and sad with or without crying, and can cause sleep disturbances. While these symptoms impact the family unit, they do not interfere with the mother’s ability to care for her baby whereas postpartum depression does. 

Postpartum depression screening and awareness is imperative in helping mothers get the treatment they need. Treatment differs from person to person including psychotherapy, counseling, social and familial support, and/or medication. Some complementary alternative medicine options are also being studied such as yoga, expressive writing, and bright light therapy. 

Untreated postpartum depression can have many adverse effects on both the family and the infant, including maternal bonding, and impaired cognitive and motor development of the infant.

Unfortunately, there are still stigmas associated with postpartum depression that prevent women from seeking help if they are having symptoms of postpartum depression. The more awareness and recognition there is surrounding postpartum depression will help empower women to ask for help and honestly self-report symptoms of postpartum depression so that treatment options can be discussed and implemented.

If you or someone you know might be having symptoms of postpartum depression, please reach out to our office to schedule an appointment in either Prescott or Prescott Valley call 928-778-4300.