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Symptoms of Depression During Pregnancy

Any of these symptoms that last longer than two weeks are possible signs of depression:
 
  • Feeling restless or irritable
  • Feeling sad, hopeless, and overwhelmed
  • Crying a lot
  • Having no energy or motivation
  • Eating too little or too much
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Trouble focusing, remembering, or making decisions
  • Feeling worthless and guilty
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Headaches, chest pains, heart palpitations (the heart beating fast and feeling like it is skipping beats), or hyperventilation (fast and shallow breathing).
     
After pregnancy, signs of depression may also include being afraid of hurting the baby or oneself and not having any interest in the baby.
 

Is It Baby Blues, Postpartum Depression, or Postpartum Psychosis?

People tend to use terms pertaining to pregnancy and depression interchangeably, but there is a difference, as explained in the following sections.
 
Baby Blues
The baby blues can develop in the days right after childbirth, and normally go away within a few days to a week. A new mother can experience:
 
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Sadness
  • Crying spells
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleeping problems
  • Feelings of irritability, restlessness, anxiety, and loneliness.
     
Symptoms are not severe, and treatment generally isn't needed. But there are things you can do to feel better. Nap when the baby does. Ask for help from your spouse, family members, and friends. Join a support group for new moms or talk with other moms.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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