The first year of parenting can be incredibly difficult, even if everything goes according to plan. We’ve collected five of the most frequently asked questions about postpartum depression so you can find the answers you need, all in one place.

What is Postpartum Depression (PPD)?

Postpartum depression is a type of clinical depression related to pregnancy and childbirth. PPD typically develops within the first year after giving birth; however, some women develop symptoms during pregnancy. Women who suffer from PPD typically experience feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and guilt that is severe enough to interfere with their daily life.

How To Know If You Have Postpartum Depression?

While it is quite common to experience what is referred to as the baby blues, if intense feelings of sadness, worry, self-doubt and tearfulness continue for more than two weeks and begin to interfere with your ability to care for yourself or your child, you may be experiencing postpartum depression. Here’s a list of some common symptoms that could indicate PPD:

  • Frequent & uncontrollable crying
  • Extreme sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness
  • Waning interest or enjoyment in hobbies & activities
  • Nighttime insomnia & trouble staying awake during daytime
  • Overwhelming feelings of guilt, worthlessness, worry, or anger
  • Extreme exhaustion, changes in appetite, & difficulty concentrating
  • Worrying excessively about or being uninterested In your baby

What Causes Postpartum Depression?

PPD is caused by a variety of factors, including hormonal fluctuations, environmental and emotional changes, and genetics. While many women feel as if they are somehow responsible for their diagnosis, it is important to remember that PPD is beyond your control. The following factors can contribute to PPD and may put you at a higher risk of developing PPD:

  • History of depression or anxiety, especially during pregnancy
  • Traumatic childbirth experiences including preterm delivery, baby requiring neonatal intensive care, baby with birth defects or medical problems
  • Financial problems, unemployment, domestic violence & single parenthood
  • Unplanned pregnancy or multiple babies (twins, triplets, etc.)

How Long Does Postpartum Depression Last?

While PPD can last up to three years after giving birth, seeking early medical treatment can decrease the length of your depression. Many factors can contribute to the length of your depression, including severity of symptoms, the amount of time it took you to seek a diagnosis and treatment, and the longevity of the environmental factors that contributed to your depression.

How Is Postpartum Depression Diagnosed?

PPD can be diagnosed by your doctor or mental health practitioner using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, depression-screening questionnaires, or other diagnostic tools to determine the severity of your condition and treatment plans.

If you’re suffering from postpartum depression, Woodburn Pediatrics can help you find the postpartum care you need.