Whether it’s your first, second, or third child, having a baby can be a very exciting and joyous occasion for a parent. You’ll likely spend the first few weeks at home adjusting to a new baby and trying to figure out a new normal. However, giving birth can also lead to something a little less pleasant: baby blues, or even postpartum depression.
What are the Symptoms of Baby Blues?
Bringing a new life into the world can trigger hormonal issues and responses in the new parents, and emotions can range from excitement and joy to fear and anxiety. Uncontrollable crying, feeling overwhelmed, sadness, mood swings, and changes in appetite are all symptoms of having the baby blues. Experiencing any of these symptoms shouldn’t be a cause for concern. These symptoms are normal and usually starts within a few days after birth and can last up to two weeks. Having an excellent support system and taking time for yourself can help a new parent deal with the baby blues.
However, if these symptoms seem to last longer than two to three weeks and are more intense, you might be experiencing postpartum depression. If this is the case, talk to your PCP about your options for medication and mental health support.
What are the Signs of Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression is common, especially among new parents. And yes, fathers can have postpartum depression also. Some signs that a parent is dealing with postpartum depression include, but are not limited to:
- Terrible mood swings and deep depression
- Feeling like a lousy parent
- Excessive crying
- No appetite, or overeating
- Inability to concentrate
- Always sleeping or not sleeping enough
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Very irritable or angry
- Not bonding or connecting with the new baby
- Suicidal ideation
- Thoughts of harming the baby or self
Postpartum depression can start within the first few days after giving birth. However, it may not present until a year after the baby is born. No matter how it manifests,postpartum depression should be taken very seriously and will need to be treated. Depending on the severity of the symptoms, the parent might need to be prescribed an antidepressant as well as ongoing therapy. Thankfully, postpartum depression is curable.
Depression of any kind is never a sign of weakness and should be treated like any other chronic condition. With proper treatment, postpartum depression can improve and be better controlled.
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