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Potential Signs of Postpartum Depression

While the “baby blues” are common for many women after giving birth, some women face a more prolonged and serious period of depression. If your feelings of sadness or anxiety do not go away, you may be suffering from postpartum depression. You don’t have to go through this alone. There is support and treatment available to help you get better.

What is the difference between baby blues and postpartum depression?

If you’re unsure whether you’re experiencing a common case of the baby blues or something more serious, consider these factors:

  • Duration of the symptoms — Baby blues start to diminish after the first two weeks postpartum; whereas postpartum depression persists for weeks or months, and can even start months after the baby is born.
  • Severity of symptoms — Postpartum depression typically disrupts your ability to function, while the baby blues don’t interrupt daily responsibilities.

What are some common signs of postpartum depression?

These nine symptoms may indicate that it’s time to seek some help:

  • Exaggerated mood swings
  • Constant fatigue or exhaustion
  • Loss of appetite or overeating
  • Confusion or difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling overwhelmed or helpless
  • Low self-esteem and feelings of guilt
  • Lack of interest or resentment toward the baby
  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Fear of harming yourself or your baby

If you begin having thoughts of harming yourself or your baby — or are experiencing any of the above symptoms for an extended period — tell someone you love and contact a health care professional immediately. If you are in a state of crisis, you can contact the Military Crisis Line 24 hours a day (1-800-273-8255 and Press 1). You can also start a conversation via online chat or text (838255). Check out Military OneSource resources for parents, and the New Parent Support Program.

Remember that you are not alone. Help is available and you can get better.

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