Postpartum depression | Norton Healthcare Louisville, Ky.

Postpartum Depression

The days and weeks after your baby’s birth can be as overwhelming as they are exciting. It’s a time of powerful emotions: joy, excitement, anxiety — and sometimes sadness. After giving birth, women can experience feelings of sadness that range from mild (known as the “baby blues”) to severe (postpartum depression).

Baby Blues vs. Postpartum Depression

Baby blues are common after childbirth, affecting between 50 percent and 75 percent of new moms. This condition can include mood swings, irritability, crying spells and trouble sleeping. The baby blues typically start within the first few days of giving birth and can last up to two weeks.

Postpartum depression may be mistaken for the baby blues at first, but the symptoms are more intense, last longer and may interfere with daily life. Symptoms usually develop within the first few weeks after giving birth but may begin up to a year after childbirth.

Postpartum Depression Symptoms

Signs of postpartum depression can range from mild to severe and may include:

  • Changes in appetite
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Excessive crying
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of guilt or inadequacy
  • Hopelessness
  • Inability to focus or make decisions
  • Insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Intense anger and irritability
  • Panic attacks and severe anxiety
  • Persistent sadness and mood swings
  • Withdrawing from family and friends

Causes and Risk Factors of Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression may be related to sudden hormonal changes after delivery, although the exact cause is unknown. The stress of childbirth and caring for a newborn, along with sleep deprivation, also may play a role.

Risk factors that may increase your chance of postpartum depression include:

  • A history of depression or other mental health issues
  • Family members with depression
  • Lack of a support system
  • Difficulty with breastfeeding
  • Your baby has health problems

Diagnosis and Treatment

You may be reluctant to admit feelings of depression after your baby’s birth, but it’s important to reach out for support during this time.

Call your doctor if your symptoms of depression:

  • Get increasingly worse
  • Include thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
  • Last for more than two weeks
  • Make it difficult to care for your baby
  • Make it hard to complete everyday tasks

Treatment will vary depending on the severity of symptoms and may include counseling, medication or both.

Postpartum Psychosis

Postpartum psychosis is a rare but serious condition. The symptoms are severe, develop rapidly within the first week after delivery and may include:

  • Agitation or excessive energy
  • Attempts to harm yourself or your baby
  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • Irrational or violent thoughts
  • Obsessive thoughts about your baby
  • Paranoia
  • Sleep disturbances

Postpartum psychosis may lead to life-threatening thoughts or behaviors and requires immediate treatment.

Women’s Health – 4GYN

Region’s first doula program of its kind established with $250,000 gift

Norton Women’s Care soon will offer a new doula program that aims to improve the long-term health of new mothers. The program, which will begin this fall, will be made possible thanks in part to […]

Read Full Story

How to prepare for natural birth

More and more patients are interested in natural birth. There are many definitions of “natural birth” and just as many misconceptions about how and where a natural birth can happen. We will break down the […]

Read Full Story

What is preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia is a condition unique to pregnancy. Every May is Preeclampsia Awareness Month. What is preeclampsia and how can we prevent and treat it? What is preeclampsia? Preeclampsia is a disorder which affects between 5% […]

Read Full Story

Can stress affect your period?

Stress is a psychological and physiological reaction to changes in a person’s environment. These changes can be emotional, physical, social or cultural. Stress is a normal reaction that can seem like a constant companion in […]

Read Full Story

National Women’s Health Week: How to celebrate

National Women’s Health Week is a yearly observance to serve as a reminder for women and girls to make their health a priority. Led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on […]

Read Full Story
Related Stories

Region’s first doula program of its kind established with $250,000 gift

Norton Women’s Care soon will offer a new doula program that aims to improve the long-term health of new mothers. The program, which will begin this fall, will be made possible thanks in part to […]

Read Full Story

How to prepare for natural birth

More and more patients are interested in natural birth. There are many definitions of “natural birth” and just as many misconceptions about how and where a natural birth can happen. We will break down the […]

Read Full Story

What is preeclampsia?

Preeclampsia is a condition unique to pregnancy. Every May is Preeclampsia Awareness Month. What is preeclampsia and how can we prevent and treat it? What is preeclampsia? Preeclampsia is a disorder which affects between 5% […]

Read Full Story

Can stress affect your period?

Stress is a psychological and physiological reaction to changes in a person’s environment. These changes can be emotional, physical, social or cultural. Stress is a normal reaction that can seem like a constant companion in […]

Read Full Story

National Women’s Health Week: How to celebrate

National Women’s Health Week is a yearly observance to serve as a reminder for women and girls to make their health a priority. Led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on […]

Read Full Story

Search our entire site.

Schedule an Appointment

Select an appointment date and time from available spots listed below.