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Baby Blues vs. Clinical Depression

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Understanding the Difference Between Baby Blues Symptoms and Clinical Depression

iStock_000017785517Large-resized-200x300What is postpartum depression? Having a baby can be one of the happiest and most important events in a woman’s life. While life with a new baby can be thrilling and rewarding, it also can be hard and stressful at times. Many new moms experience the Baby Blues – a mild, brief bout of depression–for a few days or weeks after giving birth. However, 10 percent to 20 percent of new moms will experience a more severe form of depression–known as postpartum or perinatal depression–that can interfere with daily life. Some women may develop postpartum psychosis, a rare but severe illness.

The Baby Blues

A mild depression is common to many new mothers (an estimated 60-80 percent), and usually occurs immediately after birth. This condition is characterized by sudden mood swings that range from euphoria to intense sadness. It can last for only a few hours or as long as one to two weeks after delivery. Often, medical attention is not necessary.

Postpartum depression

Women who experience the Baby Blues are at an increased risk of developing postpartum depression. The condition is characterized by more intense feelings of sadness, despair, anxiety and irritability. The symptoms are longer lasting and may occur anytime within the first year. Hope for perinatal depression can better be understood through two recent articles that are shared below:

Postpartum psychosis

Postpartum psychosis is a rare, serious mental illness that affects one in 500 to 1,000 new mothers. The onset is usually within the first six weeks after delivery and may cause the mother to completely lose touch with reality. She may have thoughts of harming herself or her child. Women who have bipolar disorder or another psychiatric problem called schizoaffective disorder have a higher risk of developing postpartum psychosis. Counseling, combined with medication and education in stress reduction, generally leads to recovery. http://www.melaniesbattle.org/

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