Dr. Mary Lynn of Loyola University Medical Center says, “Postpartum depression is a change in mood where the mother can have signs and symptoms of depression during the time after they’ve delivered.” Some of those symptoms include mothers being tearful, depressed, having anxiety attacks, loss of appetite, and lack of sleep. These symptoms typically arise 1 to 3 months after childbirth, but can occur up to a year later.
Postpartum depression shouldn’t be confused with postpartum blues. The latter is a milder form that affects 80% of new mothers, and typically fades after a week. Lifestyle, emotional, and physical factors all contribute to postpartum depression.
Most women are screened for depression during their pregnancy, right after the birth of their child, and a few weeks after delivery. However, it is important for new moms to know the signs and symptoms of postpartum depression, so they can receive the help they need from their family and from their doctor.
Laura Delapena, a certified registered nurse, says she sees many new moms develop symptoms of postpartum depression when they return to work. “It can be related to separation anxiety. You might be having guilt because you’re leaving your baby at home and you might have to interrupt breastfeeding at this time. That is a really hard stage for almost any mother.” She recommends support groups, so mothers can talk to other women who have gone through that same stage.
Loyola Center for Health offers a support group for any moms who may be suffering from postpartum depression. Call 888-LUHS-888 for more information.