Depression in Pregnancy can feel like extreme exhaustion, tearfulness or anxiety. Moms can have a hard time concentrating, or feel guilty and worthless. They can lose interest in things they used to enjoy. Sleeping and eating habits can change. Women can have thoughts of hopelessness or even death or suicide.
Baby Blues usually comes on in the first two weeks and it can feel like mild depression. The time when mother’s milk comes in (the first 3-5 days or so) can be particularly challenging. Baby blues gets better within two weeks, but can sometimes turn into postpartum depression.
Postpartum Depression can come about slowly, and occur any time in the first two postpartum years.
- Depressed mood and tearfulness, feeling hopeless and empty inside
- Loss of pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
- Extreme fatigue or sluggishness
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of suicide or death
- Feelings of guilt or of being a bad mother
- Appetite and weight changes, and/or changes in sleep patterns
Postpartum Anxiety is more common than postpartum depression. Anxiety issues can be triggered by a real or perceived threat during delivery, or a threat to the baby.
- Extreme agitation and nervousness; feeling jittery or wanting to run away
- Inability to sleep, even when your baby is sleeping
- Can sometimes include disturbing thoughts of harm coming to your baby
- Sometimes includes obsessive fears or compulsive behaviors like checking on baby too often
- May include panic attacks, nightmares, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate and the feeling of dying
Postpartum Psychosis is very rare, affecting only 1-2% of women. This condition is usually brought on in the first 3 weeks after delivery. It is more likely to impact a woman who has had bipolar disorder or a previous episode of postpartum psychosis.
- Very confusing or disorganized thinking. Strange thoughts or behavior
- Feeling alone or removed from people around you, or from your baby
Inability to eat or sleep well
- Extreme agitation or restlessness
- Delusional thinking, for example feeling an inflated sense of self-importance or thinking that the world may be ending
- Seeing, smelling, feeling or hearing things that are not really there. If you aren’t sure if experiences are real or not you may be suffering with psychosis
Postpartum psychosis is an emergency. You should seek help immediately by calling 9-1-1 or going to an emergency room.