The Difference Between Postpartum Depression and Baby Blues

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Everyone talks about having the baby, but how much do you know about what can happen to you post-delivery? Lupe Cruz, a certified Nurse Midwife from LDS Hospital, shed light on a topic that many are trying to find answers.
 
Lupe talked with us about the root of postpartum depression, its causes and the difference between this disorder and a case of the “baby blues”.
 
She says postpartum depression is a mood disorder that can affect women after childbirth. Women experience feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety and exhaustion. These feelings may interfere with a woman’s ability to care for herself or her family.
 
The certified expert says there is not one single cause; likely due to physical and emotional factors, hormone level changes, changes in family, lack of sleep, or physical discomfort. Postpartum depression does not happen because of something the mother did or did not do. Lupe emphasized that it is not the mother’s fault and she encouraged anyone with the following symptoms or signs to seek help.
 
Signs and Symptoms:
  • Feeling sad, hopeless, empty, overwhelmed
  • Crying more often than usual or for no apparent reason
  • Worrying, overly anxious, moody, irritable or restless feelings
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering things, or making decisions
  • Experiencing anger or rage
  • Los of interest in things that were once enjoyable
  • Frequent aches and pains: headaches, stomach aches, muscle pains
  • Increase or decrease in appetite
  • Withdrawal or avoiding family and friends
  • Difficulty bonding with or taking care of baby
  • Thought of hurting yourself or your baby

You might be wondering how do you tell if it is depression or “baby blues”? Lupe says “baby blues” are experienced by approximately 80 percent of mothers. Babies are a lot of work so it is normal to worry, be tired (from lack of sleep and providing care), or get a little teary at times. These feelings are usually mild and last about a week or two, then go away on their own. If the feeling worsen or last longer than 2 weeks, she says you should see your provider.

Lupe says anyone with the following traits may be at risk:

  • History of postpartum depression or a history of depression or bipolar disorder during another time in their life.
  • Family member diagnosed with depression or other mental illness
  • Stressful life events or medical complications during or shortly after pregnancy
  • Mixed feeling about pregnancy
  • Lack of family support
  • Alcohol or drug abuse problems
For more information on conditions that affect mental health, resources, and research, go to MentalHealth.gov or visit the National Institute of Mental Health‘s website. Also visit ldshospital.org/healthyliving.
 
This story includes sponsored content.

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