Signs and symptoms of postpartum depression (PPD)
Symptoms of PPD are not the same for every woman.
Sadness is only one symptom of PPD. Some women may be more aware of an increase in anxiety and irritability. Only your healthcare provider can determine if you have PPD.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should tell your doctor right away:
- Feeling sad, hopeless, empty, or overwhelmed
- Crying more often than usual
- Worrying or feeling overly anxious
- Feeling moody, irritable, or restless
- Oversleeping or being unable to sleep when your baby is asleep
- Having trouble concentrating and making decisions
- Frequent feelings of anger or rage
- Losing interest in activities that are usually enjoyable
- Suffering from physical aches and pains
- Eating too little or too much
- Avoiding friends and family
- Having trouble bonding with your baby
- Persistently doubting your ability to care for your baby
- Thinking about harming yourself or your baby
PPD is different from the “baby blues.”
You may be familiar with the condition known as the baby blues, which affects about 80% of new mothers. Occurring a few days after childbirth, the baby blues can cause symptoms of sadness, fatigue, crying spells, and mood swings.
These symptoms are milder than those associated with postpartum depression and usually go away within 10 to 14 days. While the baby blues do not require treatment, up to 1 in 4 women who have the baby blues go on to develop PPD.
When to seek help immediately
Very rarely, a new mother may develop a severe psychological emergency called postpartum psychosis. Women with postpartum psychosis may show symptoms of paranoia, hallucinations, confusion, and extreme agitation, and are a danger to themselves and their children. They should never be left alone.
If, at any time, you experience symptoms that you feel might put you or your baby
at risk, call 911 and seek immediate emergency care from healthcare professionals.
The information on this site is meant to provide general information only and is not intended
to be medical advice. You should discuss the information fully with a healthcare professional.