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Postpartum depression Symptoms and Risk factors

When some woman is giving a birth of baby, then this process can trigger a jumble of powerful emotions which are ranging from excitement and joy to fear and anxiety. But this can also lead to depression for which many women do not think that is possible. There are many new moms who are experiencing postpartum baby blues after the childbirth and this commonly include difficulty sleeping, anxiety, crying spells and mood swings. Typically, baby blues begin within the first 2 – 3 days after the delivery and they can last for up to 2 weeks. But there are some new moms who are experiencing a more severe, long – lasting form of depression which is called postpartum depression [1]. There are very rare cases when an extreme mood disorder called postpartum psychosis can happen after the childbirth [2,3]. The postpartum depression is not a character weakness or flaw. In some cases, this is a complication of giving birth. If you have postpartum depression, then the prompt treatment will help you to manage with the symptoms and to enjoy with your baby.

Postpartum depression Symptoms and Risk factors

Symptoms: The signs and symptoms of depression after childbirth vary and they can range from mild to severe.

  1. Postpartum baby blues symptoms: The signs and symptoms of baby blues, which are lasting only a few days to a week or 2 after the baby is born, can include:
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Appetite problems
  • Reduced concentration
  • Crying
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Irritability
  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  1. Postpartum depression symptoms: At first, the postpartum depression can be mistaken for baby blues but the signs and symptoms of this condition are more intense and they last longer. The signs and symptoms of postpartum depression can interfere with your ability to handle with your everyday tasks and to take care for your baby. The symptoms of postpartum depression usually develop within the first few weeks after giving birth but also they can begin later – up to 6 months after birth. Here are the symptoms of postpartum depression:
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
  • Severe anxiety and panic attacks
  • Diminished ability to think clearly, concentrate or make decisions
  • Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt or inadequacy
  • Fear that you are not a good mother
  • Intense irritability and anger
  • Reduced interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
  • Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy
  • Inability to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much
  • Loss of appetite or eating much more than usual
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Excessive crying
  • Depressed mood or severe mood swings

If you do not treat the postpartum depression, then it can last for many months or longer.

  1. Postpartum psychosis: This is a rare condition which is developing within the first week after the delivery. When some woman has postpartum psychosis, then the signs and symptoms are even more severe. Here are some signs and symptoms of postpartum psychosis [1,2,3]:
  • Attempts to harm yourself or your baby
  • Paranoia
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • Obsessive thoughts about your baby
  • Confusion and disorientation

This condition requires immediate treatment because if it is not treated, then it can lead to life – threatening thoughts or behaviors.

If you are getting worse or your signs and symptoms do not fade after 2 weeks, then you should talk with your doctor.

Postpartum depression Symptoms and Risk factors

Postpartum depression Symptoms and Risk factors

Risk factors: It is known that the postpartum depression can develop after the birth of any child, not just the first. This risk increases if:

  • The pregnancy was unplanned or unwanted [4,5]
  • You have financial problems
  • You have a weak support system
  • You are having problems in your relationship with your spouse or significant other
  • You have difficulty breast – feeding [6]
  • Your baby has health problems or other special needs
  • You have experienced stressful events during the past year, such as job loss, illness or pregnancy complications
  • You have family members who have had depression or other mood stability problems
  • You had postpartum depression after a previous pregnancy
  • You have bipolar disorder [7]
  • You have a history of depression, either during pregnancy or at other times


[1] Sit D, Rothschild AJ, Wisner KL. A review of postpartum psychosis. Journal of Women’s Health. 2006;15(4):352–68.

[2] Davies W. Understanding the pathophysiology of postpartum psychosis: Challenges and new approaches. World Journal of Psychiatry. 2017;7(2):77–88.

[3] VanderKruik R, Barreix M, Chou D, et al. The global prevalence of postpartum psychosis: a systematic review. BMC Psychiatry. 2017.

[4] Leathers SJ, Kelley MA. Unintended pregnancy and depressive symptoms among first-time mothers and fathers.. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry. 2000;70(4):523.

[5] de Oliveira Brito CN, Alves SV, Ludermir AB, de Araujo TVB. Postpartum depression among women with unintended pregnancy. Revista de Saúde Pública. 2015;49.

[6] Pope CJ, Mazmanian D. Breastfeeding and postpartum depression: An overview and methodological recommendations for future research. Depression Research and Treatment. 2016;2016:4765310.

[7] Jaeschke RR, Dudek D, Topor-Madry R, et al. Postpartum depression: bipolar or unipolar? Analysis of 434 Polish postpartum women. Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry. 2017;39(2).

Pardhan Singh
Pardhan Singh
A seasoned natural therapist with degree in Ayurvedic Medicine (BAMS) successful in treating various diseases through Ayurvedic treatments. You can contact Pradhan at [email protected]


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