Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a real illness caused by changes in biology, psychology, environment and hormones. PPD is the most common complication of childbirth. You are not alone. PPD affects up to 20% of new mothers anytime in the first year after delivery. You are not to blame. PPD can affect any new mother regardless of age, race, income, education and/or marital status. You can feel better with help. PPD can be treated with self-help techniques, social support, counseling and medication when necessary.

Signs and Symptoms

A new mother experiencing postpartum depression might have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Feel sad, hopeless, overwhelmed
  • Feel anxious or panicky
  • Regret having a baby
  • Have trouble sleeping, even when baby sleeps
  • Think her family would be better off without her
  • Fear leaving the house or being alone
  • Isolate herself from friends and family
  • Have unexplained anger or irritability
  • Fear she might harm herself or her baby
  • Have trouble coping with daily tasks
  • Have difficulty concentrating or making simple decisions
  • Feel “out of control”
  • Feel guilty for feeling this way

Where To Go For Help

Postpartum Support International (PSI) is the world's leading organization in advocating, educating, and providing support for women experiencing postpartum depression and other perinatal mood disorders. PSI volunteers offer support, encouragement, information, and local resources. PSI's website includes state-by-state listings of volunteers who provide one-on-one support (via telephone and email) and group support. www.postpartum.net

Walk Away From The Baby Blues

A woman with postpartum depression may find relief if she pushes her baby in a stroller accompanied by other moms and infants. Australian researchers found that among new moms who'd been diagnosed with depression, those who completed a 12-week stroller-walking class showed fewer symptoms than those in a mom-baby play group that didn't involve exercise.

The scientists concluded that gaining fitness through the sociability of stroller walking may be a more effective treatment for depression than joining a sedentary new mother support group.

  • Amanda Vogel
  • International Journal of Nursing Practices.

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