After giving birth to my daughter I suffered from a certain depression. A weird sadness would show up unexpectedly. I couldn’t grasp why I would switch from total extasy when holding my baby to total despair two minutes later. Checking with my doctor I learned that I was suffering from baby blues, a very common phase that around 85% of mothers experience. Its symptoms include: mood changes, anxiety, confusion, irritability, and appetite disturbance. They manifested in me as they usually do, starting 2 days after the birth and lasting for about 10 to 14 days. After that I started to feel better; tired by the new rhythm but not sad.
The doctor told me to be alert. When baby blues exceeds the 2 weeks after the birth it may evolve into a pospartum depression (PPD). How does PPD manifest? The symptoms are more dramatic than baby blues and they last longer. They include:
- Loss of interest in usual activities
- Having a hard time concentrating or making decisions
- Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
- Significant weight loss or gain
- Changes in appetite or sleep pattern
- Excessive anxiety about your baby’s health
PPD gets at its peak 10 weeks after the birth and it can last more than a year if its not treated properly. A study published in the Hardvard Review of Psychiatry reveals that poor partner relationships, stress and a pre-existing history of depression and sexual abuse make women more vulneable to experience chronic depression after giving birth.
The trickiest part is that usually PPD is not detected by your doctor because after having your baby you usually go more to the paediatrician that to your gynaecologist. So we have to be aware to track it ourselves. Don’t hesitate to let your baby’s paediatrician know if you think you are depressed, your mood changes can have a big impact on your child’s development and behaviour.
If you ever are confused and can’t tell if you are suffering of postpartum depression, here is a test that will help you clarify that. It’s based on the Edinburgh postpartum depression scale. It’s best to do it around six to eight weeks after the birth of your child. And please, to see if you could be suffering from postpartum depression, answer the 10 following questions based on how you’ve felt in the past seven days, not just how you feel today. Once you have answered them let us know to what email do you want us to send you the results. You will have them immediately. If you score more than 12 points there is a strong possibility that you have pospartum depression, in that case we suggest that you seek the help of your health care provider as soon as you can.
Detecting PPD early can safe you precious time with your baby and can avoid harmful impact of your behaviour on your little one.
To know if you may be suffering from PPD answer the questions below
Test Sources: Cox, J.L., Holden, J.M., and Sagovsky, R. 1987. Detection of postnatal depression: Development of the 10-item Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. British Journal of Psychiatry.