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The days, weeks and months following the birth of a child are often the most exciting and wonderful times in a woman's life, but for more than half of all new moms, the time is also filled with dread, worry, anxiety and frustration. Post partum disorders are very real and can affect anyone. Doctors have reported 3 different types of disorders that new moms may experience after bringing home a new baby. If you or someone you know may be dealing with a post partum disorder, please notify your provider, a counselor or inform someone close to you.
Baby blues is the most common type of post partum disorder that new moms may experience. Anywhere from 70-85% of new moms will experience these blues that can last a few hours or up to a few weeks after giving birth. The most common symptoms are sudden mood swings, irritability, restlessness, crying spells, anxiety, loneliness and feelings of sadness. Normally the symptoms will subside on their own and rarely require more than some rest and lots of support.
Post Partum Depression
Some women will have symptoms that last longer than two weeks and are more intense than those of baby blues. These symptoms are called Post Partum Depression and affect 10-20% of women. Symptoms can develop a few days to a few weeks after delivery. Symptoms are similar to those of the "baby blues" but will be severe enough to interfere with a woman's ability to care for herself or her newborn and accomplish every day tasks. In addition family relationships may become strained, leading the new mother feeling more isolated and helpless. Other more serious symptoms can include suicidal thoughts, inability to cope, hopelessness and despondency. This type of depression can be treated with medication and counseling, but if left untreated can become more severe.
Post Partum Psychosis
Post partum depression can occasionally develop into a more severe condition called Post Partum Psychosis. Post partum psychosis will affect 1 out of 1,000 women and usually develops within 3 months of childbirth. Symptoms may include irritability, apathy, intense anxiety, decreased appetite, crying spells, irrational behavior and impaired concentration combined with delusions or visual and auditory hallucinations representing an altered reality. This is an extremely serious condition and requires immediate evaluation by a trained professional. Treatment for post partum psychosis may include psychotherapy, medication, and may even require hospitalization before the symptoms improve
If you are experiencing any of these syndromes please speak with your provider and they will be glad to evaluate your situation and provide assistance if needed.