Do You Have Baby Blues Or A Real Depression
by Ann Douglas
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What are "the baby blues"? Are they an early warning sign of postpartum depression?
Postpartum depression, on the other hand, is such more intense and prolonged. (By definition, postpartum depression must last for at least two weeks in order to be distinguished from the "baby blues.") Approximately one in 10 new mothers will experience postpartum depression during the year after giving birth. It typically sets in approximately two to three weeks after the birth of a baby and often requires counseling and/or treatment with anti-depressants or other medications.
The most severe form of postpartum depression is known as postpartum psychosis. It affects approximately one in 1,000 women. A woman who is suffering from postpartum psychosis may experience paranoia, mood shifts, and/or hallucinations or delusions. She may be a danger to herself or her baby, so treatment should be sought immediately if a woman appears to be developing postpartum psychosis.
Women who have previously experienced postpartum depression following the birth of a baby face an increased risk of experiencing a recurrence following the birth of a subsequent child. The recurrence rate is one in three to one in four (as opposed to one in 10 for the general population). If you've struggled with postpartum depression after a previous pregnancy, talk to your doctor or midwife about what can be done to reduce your risks of experiencing a recurrence this time around and/or to put a treatment plan in place.