Postpartum depression - Treatment
Depression - postpartum; Postnatal depression
A new mother who has any symptoms of postpartum depression should take steps right away to get help.
Here are some other helpful tips:
The treatment for depression after birth often includes medication, therapy, or both.
If you are thinking of harming yourself or your infant, seek immediate medical help.
If you are diagnosed with postpartum depression, support groups may be helpful, but they should not replace medication or individual psychotherapy (talk therapy).
Medication and professional psychotherapy can often successfully reduce or eliminate symptoms.
If left untreated, postpartum depression can last for months or years, and you may be at risk of harming yourself or your baby.
The potential long-term complications are the same as in major depression.
Calling your health care provider:
Call your doctor if you experience any of the following:
- Your baby blues don't go away after 2 weeks
- Symptoms of depression get more intense
- Symptoms of depression begin at any time after delivery, even many months later
- It is hard for you to perform tasks at work or at home
- You cannot care for yourself or your baby
- You have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
- You develop thoughts that are not based in reality, or you start hearing or seeing things that other people cannot
Do not be afraid to seek help immediately if you feel overwhelmed and are afraid that you may hurt your baby.
- Reviewed last on: 9/4/2010
- David B. Merrill, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Women's Mental Health: Postpartum Psychiatric Disorders. Accessed August 10, 2010.
Pearlstein T, Howard M, Salisbury A, Zlotnick C. Postpartum depression. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2009;200:357-364.
ACOG Committee on Practice Bulletins--Obstetrics. ACOG Practice Bulletin: Clinical management guidelines for obstetrician-gynecologists number 92. Use of psychiatric medications during pregnancy and lactation. Obstet Gynecol. 2008;111:1001-1020.
Depression during and after pregnancy. Updated March 6, 2009. Accessed August 10, 2010.
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