A certain amount of insomnia, irritability, overwhelmed feelings, and mood swings are normal during the first few days after childbirth, which is commonly referred to as the "baby blues."
However, when symptoms of the baby blues continue past two weeks and begin to increase in severity, the condition may be developing into postpartum depression.
Symptoms of postpartum depression include irritability, anxiety, fatigue, lack of energy and motivation, change in appetite and, in severe cases, thoughts of harming yourself or the baby.
Women who have personal or family history of depression, are receiving inadequate amounts of rest or experiencing high-levels of stress are at higher risk of developing postpartum depression and should be especially in-tune to the signs of the condition.
Postpartum depression is an extremely serious disease, and if left untreated, individuals may experience total loss of function, may begin neglecting their child, begin acting on thoughts of harm to themselves or their child or enter into a state of psychosis.
Therefore, it is extremely important for women to discuss any symptoms of depression they are experiencing with their OB/GYN, who can refer them to the care they need. In mild to moderate cases, patients may only need therapy combined with adequate rest and proper nutrition to treat the condition. However, in more severe cases, therapy may need to be paired with anti-depressant medication.
Cone Health Behavioral Health Hospital offers an adult Intensive Outpatient Program, staffed by a dedicated team of behavioral health specialists, to treat individuals suffering from serious conditions, such as postpartum depression. Patients in the program participate in daily group therapy sessions, and are then able to return home to care for their baby and attend to their day-to-day responsibilities.
Dr. Gayle Tadepalli is a board certified psychiatrist at Cone Health Behavioral Health Hospital. Dr. Tadepalli is a graduate of Gandhi Medical College. She completed her residency and fellowship at the University of North Dakota.