Baby blues? 5 warning signs of postpartum depression

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Feeling a little blue after having a baby? A Houston doctor explains why.

Giving birth is a bright and shining moment. It's the end of a long nine months and the first chance to meet your little bundle of joy.

But some women feel a slump in the days afterwards. If you're concerned, you shouldn't be.

"Baby blues" is a real condition experienced by 70 percent of all mothers, and includes bouts of brief crying, fears about how you'll shape up as a parent, and a sudden drop in mood.

Chemical changes after pregnancy are to blame for this brief period of sadness, says Dr. Richard Pesikoff, Baylor College of Medicine clinical professor of psychiatry.

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These weird moods usually resolve themselves quickly, but sometimes they don't.

"Some of these women go on to develop a true depression," Pesikoff said.

If these conditions occur in the first month after a baby's birth, you could have postpartum depression.

Symptoms of postpartum depression include:
  • Mood alterations
  • Crying
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep problems
  • Appetite problems

Most postpartum depression cases resolve within six to 12 months after giving birth, Pesikoff said, assuming the mother gets adequate care and treatment.

But in some cases, very strange and severe behavior can develop. This is called postpartum psychosis.

This condition is evident in situations where mothers might harm their children.

Signs of postpartum psychosis can include:
  • Adopting "false beliefs"
  • Experiencing delusions
  • Believing you hear orders or messages from God or the devil

If you feel you are experiencing any of these symptoms, Pesikoff said you should consult your doctor.

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healthpregnancypregnant womanbirthu.s. & worldparentingmental healthwomen's healthHouston
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