How Can You Identify Postpartum Depression?

June 14, 2006 by  
Filed under DEPRESSION

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How Can You Identify Postpartum Depression?

By Kitty Barker

Sometimes women suffer with depression immediately after child birth and this depression is known as postpartum depression. There are five kinds of postpartum depression, any of which can occur after child birth; however similar depression can also occur before or during pregnancy as well.

Patients of postpartum depression who have had other kinds of depression in their lives state that this depression feels very different from any other kind of depression that they have faced in their lives.

What are the different kinds of postpartum depression and How can you indentify Postpartum Depression?

There are five main kinds of postpartum depression or postpartum mood disorders as they are also known and women who have given childbirth may be suffering from any one of these. A brief description of these is given below so that you can see the current news about postpartum depression:

1. Baby Blues – This is one kind of depression which is not considered a disorder at all and as many as 80% of mothers experience it.

The symptoms of the same are given below:

Instability of your mood or mood swings as they are called commonly

Sadness and weepiness


A strong sense of dependency on those around you

Inability to concentrate

2. Depression and Anxiety – This is a postpartum depression which onsets gradually and which can happen any time during the first year of childbirth and is characterized by the following features:

Depression and anxiety which translates into worrying excessively

Finding it difficult to make decisions because you are overwhelmed with the circumstances all the time

Feelings of guilt and phobias


Having sleep problems which could mean not being able to sleep properly or on the other hand sleeping excessively

Physical pain or discomfort without any apparent cause

Lack of comfort near the baby

Decreased libido and losing interest in pleasure

Getting short tempered and irritable

3. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – This is a postpartum disorder with which 3 – 5% mothers struggle and it can be recognized with the following symptoms:

Intrusive, repetitive thoughts and mental pictures

These thoughts are often violent and about hurting the baby

There is also at the same time a sense of disgust in these thoughts and horror about them

There would accompany such behavior which would suggest the actions to reduce these thoughts. For example you may try to hide all the pointed or sharp objects with which one can hurt the baby

Repetitive behavior like counting often or cleaning up again and again.

4. Panic Disorder – This postpartum disorder is found in about 10% of the pregrant women. The symptoms of the same are listed below:

Extreme anxiety in phases

Dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pain and a sensation of being smothered or choked

Trembling, palpitations, numbness or tingling sensations

Restlessness, agitations, or irritability

During such attacks women feel that they are going crazy, losing control or even dying

Excessive worry or fears

There will be no triggers for these panics and they will happen suddenly.

5. Psychosis – This is the rarest and what may also be called the worse form of postpartum depression. In such a state the mother goes through tremendous strain to such an extent that this has got a suicide rate of 5% and infanticide rate of 4%. However Psychosis is quite rare and will only happen in one or two per thousand.

Following are the symptoms of psychosis:

Visual or sound hallucinations

Delusional thinking (for instance could be about the infant’s death or maybe even killing the baby)

Delirium or mania

Can I get help to fight postpartum depression?

This is a normal situation in the sense that many women suffer from it and it can be treated effectively through talk sessions with psychologists or medication. However, very often women who suffer from these also tend to be guilty of having such thoughts and they feel that it will be an embarrassment to tell other people that they are actually sad when they should be having the happiest time of their life. And so they end up hiding the problem which further aggravates it only.

Author: Kitty Barker – Kitty often writes for and with Postpartum Depression. You can also see more information on this subject at Postpartum Depression – should this link be inactive, you can paste this link to your browser –

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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