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Postpartum Depression

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Postpartum depression is a mood disorder that occurs after your baby is born. Your symptoms may last up to 12 months after delivery. Your symptoms may become serious and affect your daily activities and relationships. The exact cause is not known. Hormone levels that increased during pregnancy suddenly drop after your baby is born. This can cause your symptoms. A past episode of postpartum depression or a family history of depression may increase your risk. A C-section may also be done if you are pregnant with more than 1 baby. Postpartum depression may also be trigged by a lack of support at home, stress, or medical problems.

DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS:

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You think about hurting yourself or your baby.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your feelings of depression or sadness are strong.

Call your doctor if:

  • Your symptoms last most of the day for days in a row.
  • Your symptoms last more than 1 week.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Medicines:

  • Antidepressants help decrease or stop your symptoms.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Self-care:

You may feel better quickly, or if may take a few weeks to feel better. Be patient with yourself. Do the following to take care of yourself:

  • Rest as needed. Take a nap or rest while your baby sleeps. Ask someone to watch your baby while you nap.
  • Get emotional support. Share your feelings with your partner, a friend, or another mother. Ask your partner, friends, or family to help with cooking or cleaning. Do only what is needed and let other things wait until later.
  • Exercise when you can. Even 5 or 10 minutes of exercise can help improve your mood. Walk around the block or do some stretching exercises.
    Walking for Exercise
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Do not skip meals.
    Healthy Foods
  • Take care of yourself. Shower and dress each day. Write in a journal. Celebrate small achievements, even if it is only 1 thing a day. Try to get out of the house a little each day. Meet a friend for coffee.

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

Your doctor may refer you to a therapist or other specialist. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Postpartum Depression (Discharge Care)

Associated drugs

IBM Watson Micromedex

Symptoms and treatments

Mayo Clinic Reference

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.