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Signs of Postpartum Depression

Updated on February 28, 2012

Ten Percent of Women Will Suffer From Postpartum Depression

Approximately 10 percent of women will suffer from postpartum depression. Symptoms usually begin occurring in the first week or two after birth. In many cases they can last up to a year. In extreme cases, postpartum depression can last even longer. A family history of PPD increases a woman's risk of suffering from it herself. Also, if postpartum depression is a problem during a first pregnancy, there is a strong likelihood that it will occur following subsequent pregnancies. Other risk factors that can lead to the condition are an unwanted pregnancy, a difficult birth, and giving birth to a child with health problems.

Contributing Factors to Postpartum Depression

When the new mother is left to face the care of her newborn with little or no help, or feels isolated from the outside world, she is more likely to develop postpartum depression.  The lack of a strong support system from her partner, family members or friends, seems to be a common occurrence among those who suffer from PPD. 

Though no exact cause of depression following birth has been found, experts agree that stress along with the hormonal changes that occur during and after pregnancy are contributing factors. 

Postpartum Depression
Postpartum Depression

Warning Signs of PPD

The new mother's overwhelming feeling of inadequacy is a warning sign of PPD. There are many other signs such as irritability, loss of concentration, inability to sleep, crying, and loss of appetite. When a mother feels she is incapable of being a good mother and is unable to care for her new baby, she is most likely suffering from postpartum depression.

On the lookout for PPD, physicians assess the presence of risk factors and look for early signs of depression during pregnancy. An early diagnosis can lead to faster treatment, which varies with each case, but usually consists of a combination of counseling and medication.

Severe Depression Effects the Relationship Between Mother and Child

It is normal and expected for the new mother to have bouts of depression brought on by the overwhelming idea of being responsible for the care and nurturing of her new baby.  But she needs to seek immediate medical help when these feelings lead to hopelessness, suicidal thoughts or an urge to harm the baby.  Severe depression can have a long term effect on the relationship between a mother and her child. 

Postpartum Depression
Postpartum Depression


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  • lafenty profile image

    lafenty 7 years ago from California

    Thanks, lilibees. I appreciate your comment.

  • lilibees profile image

    lilibees 7 years ago

    Very good article, and the pictures are wonderful, a lot of information here!