- The `baby blues' is the most minor form of postpartum depression. It usually starts 1 to 3 days after delivery, and is characterized by weeping, irritability, lack of sleep, mood changes and a feeling of vulnerability. These `blues' can last several weeks. It is estimated that between 50% and 80% of mothers experience them.
- Postpartum psychosis is a relatively rare disorder. The symptoms include extreme confusion, fatigue, agitation, alterations in mood, feelings of hopelessness and shame, hallucinations and rapid speech or mania. Studies indicate that it affects an average of 1% of births.
- Irritability or hypersensitivity.
- Anxiety and worry.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Crying or tearfulness.
- Negative feelings such as sadness, hopelessness, helplessness, or guilt.
- Loss of interest in activities you usually enjoy.
- Difficulty sleeping (especially returning to sleep).
- Fatigue or exhaustion.
- Changes in appetite or eating habits.
- Headaches, stomachaches, muscle or backaches.
- A woman with postpartum depression may have no feelings for her baby or, conversely, be overly concerned for the child. It can have an adverse effect on the bonding between mother and child.
- Focus on short-term, rather than long-term goals. Build something to look forward to into every day, such as a walk, a bath, a chat with a friend.
- Look for free or inexpensive activities; check with your local library, community centre or place of worship.
- Spend time with your partner and/or close friends.
- Share your feelings and ask for help.
- Consult your doctor and look for a local support group.
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