NorthWest Indiana Healthy Start

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Postpartum Depression (PPD)

Q: What is depression?
A: Depression can be described as feeling sad, blue, unhappy, miserable, or down in the dumps. Most of us feel this way at one time or another for short periods. However, true clinical depression is a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration interfere with everyday life for an extended time.

Fact: Researchers believe that depression is one of the most common complications during and after pregnancy.

Q: What is Postpartum Depression?
A: It is depression (remember, feelings of sadness, loss, anger or frustration that interfere with everyday life for an extended time) that happens after the baby is born.

Q: What causes postpartum depression?
A: Researchers feel that postpartum depression may be triggered by a rapid drop in 2 hormones (estrogen and progesterone) that happens in the first 24 hours after childbirth. Occasionally, low thyroid levels can also cause symptoms of depression. Other factors that may contribute to postpartum depression include:

Feeling tired after delivery, broken sleep patterns, and not enough rest often keeps a new mother from regaining her full strength for weeks.
Feeling overwhelmed with a new, or another, baby to take care of and doubting your ability to be a good mother.
Feeling stress from changes in work and home routines. Sometimes, women think they have to be "super mom" or perfect, which is not realistic and can add stress.
Having feelings of loss - loss of identify of who you are, or were, before having the baby, loss of control, loss of your pre-pregnancy figure, and feeling less attractive.
Having less free time and control over time. Having to stay home indoors for longer periods of time and having less time to spend with your partner and loved ones.

Q: I cried for a couple of days and felt anxious and lonely right after the birth of my first baby but then I was okay. Did I suffer from postpartum depression?
A: Probably not. It was probably what is called "Baby Blues." "Baby blues" can happen in the days right after childbirth and normally go away within a few days to one week. Symptoms of "baby blues" include sudden mood swings, sadness, crying spells, loss of appetite, sleeping problems, and feelings of irritability, restlessness, anxiousness, and loneliness. During this time, the new mom can benefit from naps, extra help from family and friends, and by talking with other moms.

Fact: There is also a very rare illness called Postpartum Psychosis. Symptoms of postpartum psychosis may include delusions (false beliefs strongly held in spite of evidence saying otherwise), hallucinations (an illusion of perceiving something that is nonexistent), sleep disturbances, and obsessive thoughts about the baby. A woman with postpartum psychosis may have rapid mood swings, from depression to irritability to euphoria (a strong feeling of elation or well-being).

Q: How do I know if I have postpartum depression?
A: Any of these symptoms during and after pregnancy that last longer than 2 weeks are 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
Having 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 yourself
Not having any interest in the baby

If any of this describes you, please contact your doctor or healthcare provider and tell him or her what is going on….

Fact: Some women don't tell anyone about their symptoms because they feel embarrassed, ashamed, or guilty about feeling depressed when they are supposed to be happy. Depression, during or after pregnancy, can happen to any woman. It does not mean that you are a bad mom!

Q: If I have postpartum depression, do I have to take medicine to get better?
A: Not necessarily. Postpartum depression may be treated with medication, talk therapy or a combination of the two.

Q: Where can I call for help if I have, or want more information about, postpartum depression?
A: You can speak to your Healthy Start Case Manager or Health Educators to get more information. If you feel that you have postpartum depression (or any type of depression), here is a list of a few agencies in Northwest Indiana that may be able to help you:

Tri-City Mental Health (219) 398-7050
Edgewater (219) 885-4264
St. Margaret - Behavioral Health Services (800) 783-7663
Southlake Center for Mental Health (219) 769-4005



(219) 989-3939


Note: This information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, please consult your doctor or health care provider.

Supported in part by project H49MC00083 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau (Title V, Social Security Act).

Sites, agencies and/or organizations on this list are included for informational use only. Inclusion does not imply endorsement by Northwest Indiana Healthy Start, Northwest Indiana Health Department Cooperative or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (including the Health Resources and Service Administration).  Source:



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