Some Facts About Postpartum Depression (and Other Postpartum Mood Disorders)

May is National Maternal Depression Awareness Month, declared by Postpartum Support International, a national support group for mothers and families who are experiencing more than just a hard time after the birth of their baby. There is a range of disorders that a woman can experience during this time. Many people don't realize that there is more than just postpartum depression that can affect a new mother. Below is a list of the different disorders that a woman can experience and some information about them.

Baby Blues

Baby Blues is something that occurs in most women, up to 80%, in the first few days after having a baby. It normally lasts around 2 days, and can be seen as mood swings, anxiety, feelings of dependency, and lack of concentration. Stress and exhaustion, can increase the severity of the symptoms. Along with these two, it is thought that the sudden drop of the hormone progesterone at birth can cause many women to experience this. This should get better on its own.

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Depression is said to affect up to 20% of women, but according to the latest CDC statistic, the number in the United States has dropped to about 11.5% as of 2012, and is the most common postpartum mood disorder seen. It can be manifested in the following ways, but is not limited to them:

- Irritability

- Sadness and crying

- Feelings of guilt

- Fatigue and sleep problems (either sleeping all the time or insomnia)

- Lack of concentration, forgetfulness

- Loss of libido, lack of interest in anything

- Weight gain or weight loss, changes in appetite

- Difficulty in focusing, reduced ability to make decisions

- Development of phobias or unreasonable fears

- Excessive anxiety

- Sense of hopelessness

- Lack of confidence with the baby or lack of feelings towards the baby

Many times, women who have postpartum depression will feel like they are the only ones who are going through this or that no one understands what they are feeling.