Postpartum depression (PPD), “postpartum” meaning “after pregnancy,” is a serious mental health concern that most often affects mothers within the first year after the baby’s birth. Though it most often affects the parent who has given birth, it can affect any new parent. PPD is common: Between 10% and 20% of new mothers experience it.
This mental health concern is one of a group of mood issues that occur around the time of childbirth. This group is referred to as perinatal mood disorders. Other mood issues included in this group include postpartum anxiety, postpartum psychosis, and antenatal depression, or depression during pregnancy.
It’s normal to feel fatigued, stressed, or anxious after having a child. It’s also common to worry about being a good parent or making the right choices for the baby and the family. New parents often experience tearfulness, a low mood, fatigue, and other symptoms for two or three weeks after childbirth.
But if feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or excessive worry persist, or if you have thoughts about harming yourself or your baby, you may have postpartum depression. It’s important to reach out for help. Your doctor can help you find a therapist or counselor who can offer support and treatment.
It’s especially important to seek emergency help right away if you have delusions or hallucinations, paranoid thoughts, confusion, or persistent thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby. These signs can indicate postpartum psychosis, a rare but serious issue.
Read more at GoodTherapy.org