How will I know if I’m just overwhelmed and sleep-deprived versus depressed postpartum?

Absolutely every new Mom experiences a transition in mood postpartum. The spectrum includes feeling mildly anxious and uncertain and crying “just because it feels better” to intense feelings that are prohibitive of you taking care of yourself and your baby. In other words, Postpartum Blues can be anticipated, to some extent, in all new Moms. After all, your hormones just took a cliff dive immediately post-delivery and that shift is strongly correlated to feeling moody. Resolution usually occurs within 1-2 weeks after delivery and without medication. Postpartum Depression (affecting one in seven women) is a much more profound and extended depression. Although usually beginning 1-3 weeks post-delivery, it can evolve any time up a year postpartum. Two consistent red flags I’ve noted for postpartum depression include insomnia and severe anxiety. Postpartum depression screening using the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) https://pesnc.org/wp-content/uploads/EPDS.pdf serves as a good resource and takes less than 5 minutes to complete. Typically, your Provider asks you to perform some sort of a postpartum depression screening questionnaire around your routine postpartum visit at 4-6 weeks; earlier if you or family members are concerned. Treatment involves anti-depressants and sometimes adjunct talk therapy.

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