All parents experience a period of adjustment when a baby is born. While pregnancy and childbirth are times of great joy, they are often accompanied by changes and demands that may be overwhelming
What you should know
It is very common for new parents to have the “baby blues.” They often start a few days after a baby’s birth. Usually, feeling sad and irritable will not stop you from taking care of your baby or yourself. But if those feelings prevent you from enjoying life or last longer than two or three weeks, you may have perinatal depression.
Many parents experience perinatal depression and anxiety. It can occur at any time during your pregnancy or in your baby’s first year. Parents may also experience symptoms after a pregnancy loss or while trying to become pregnant.
Symptoms can include:
• Feeling sad, anxious or “empty”
• Low mood most or all of the day
• Change in sleeping or eating
• Feeling helpless, guilty or worthless
• Thoughts about hurting your baby, even if you will not act on them
• Problems concentrating or making simple decisions
• Thoughts about death or suicide
• Panic attacks
• Obsessive thoughts
Think about it …
• Over the past two weeks, have you felt little interest or pleasure in doing things?
• Over the past two weeks, have you felt down, depressed or hopeless?
Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) Calculator: This questionnaire was developed to identify parents who may have postpartum depression.
Things you can do
If you’re feeling blue, don’t give up. There are some important things you can do to help with symptoms of perinatal depression and anxiety, including:
• Ask for help. Talk with your medical provider, call a crisis hotline or ask a loved one to get you the care you need.
• Get support from family and friends. Research shows that adequate sleep and time away from your baby, even if it’s just 30 minutes, is very important to emotional health.
• Ask your faith or other community leaders about other support resources.
• Join a support group or talk to other parents.
We partner with several local support services.
- Minnesota Department of Health Postpartum Depression Program
- New Jersey Department of Health and Perinatal Mood Disorders Program
- Ohio Department of Mental Health/Help Me Grow Maternal Depression Screening Program
- Postpartum Support International