Your beautiful baby has arrived. This is seen as a wonderful, exciting time in your life. While most mothers feel this way, not all women do.
1 in 5 mothers find this time very stressful and may experience postpartum mood disorders (PPMD). PPMD can affect your ability to look after yourself or your baby. It can also affect your partner.
PPMD can range from normal baby blues to postpartum psychosis, which is a medical emergency.
Baby blues are normal and very common in the first few days after birth. Up to 75% of women experience the symptoms of baby blues. They usually pass within 1 to 2 weeks and are characterized by:
- Fluctuating mood
- Generalized anxiety
- Crying spells
- Feeling sad
- Feeling irritable
- Changes in sleeping and eating patterns
- Feeling exhausted
Taking care of yourself and asking for support from family and friends can be helpful. Symptoms should disappear within a few days.
Postpartum depression begins within the first year after your baby is born. It can affect mothers, partners, or adoptive parents. Many factors may be involved in the development of postpartum depression including:
- Hormonal and chemical changes in the body
- Stress and lack of support
- Adjusting to motherhood
- A history of mental illness or trauma
The good news is that postpartum depression is treatable with professional help and support. Your thoughts and feelings are important. Reach out to someone you trust, such as your doctor, midwife, nurse practitioner and/or your OB/GYN doctor. They will be able to ensure you get the support and treatment that you need.
Signs & Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression can present in many different ways. If you, or someone you know is experiencing any of the symptoms below speak with your health care provider or call the Huron County Health Unit at 1-877-837-6143
- Not feeling like yourself
- Feeling sad and tearful
- Feeling exhausted, but unable to sleep
- Feeling overwhelmed and can’t concentrate
- Not eating or sleeping like usual
- No interest in the activities you once enjoyed
- Feeling hopeless or frustrated
- Feeling restless, irritable or angry
- Feeling extremely high and full of energy
- Feeling guilty or ashamed, thinking you are not a good parent
- Feeling anxious (aches, chest pain, shortness of breath, numbness, tingling or “lump” in the throat)
- Not bonding with your baby, or afraid to be alone with the baby
- Having repeated scary thoughts about your baby
- Having thoughts about harming yourself or your baby
With postpartum psychosis the mother may:
- Have thoughts of harming herself or the baby
- Hear or see things that are not there
- Believe people are going to harm her or the baby
- Feel confused or out of touch with reality
Postpartum psychosis is a medical emergency. Get help right away:
- Go to your local emergency department or call 911
- Call the Huron Perth Crisis Intervention Program at 1-888-829-7484
If you suspect that you or someone you know is experiencing postpartum depression, speak to your family doctor, or a public health nurse at Huron County Health Unit at 519.482.3416 or toll free at 1.877.837.6143. Residents in northern communities in the county can contact a public health nurse in Wingham at 519.357.4993.