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Postpartum depression is more than just the "baby blues." Feelings of depression lasting longer than two weeks -- or severe depression itself -- can indicate this condition. There are many possible causes, and treatment plans can vary. A combination of psychotherapy and medication is frequently used to reduce the symptoms of this problem.

Postpartum Depression: Not Just the "Baby Blues"

In the first days after childbirth, about 8 out of 10 women will experience mood swings or mild depression, often called the "baby blues." It is considered normal for women to feel the baby blues for about 3 to 10 days after childbirth. These feelings usually go away in a week or two, and don't need to be treated.

What Are the Symptoms?

If your "baby blues" last longer than two weeks, or are more severe than simple mood swings or mild depression, you may have postpartum depression. After giving birth, about 10 to 15 out of 100 women experience postpartum depression. Women with this condition commonly experience some of these postpartum depression symptoms:
  • Strong feelings of depression, anger, doubt, guilt, or helplessness that seem to get worse over time
  • An inability to care for themselves or their baby
  • Change in appetite
  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Being intensely worried or concerned about the baby
  • Having little or no interest in the baby
  • Thoughts of suicide.


(Click Postpartum Depression Symptoms for more information.)


Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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