You Are Not Alone! Post-Partum Depression Facts and Statistics

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It’s not uncommon for new mothers to get what doctors call the “Baby Blues”—strong emotions and occasional mood swings that occur when the endorphins from delivery have left the system. But when those symptoms linger, it could be a sign of Post-Partum Depression (PPD), a condition that affects anywhere from 11% to 18% of new mothers, according to a 2010 survey by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). While this statistic might seem daunting, it could be good news to some mothers with symptoms of Post-Partum Depression; you are not alone.

Many of the symptoms of PPD are similar to those of depression, including consistent sad moods, loss of interest in fun activities, feelings of worthlessness, shame, or guilt, and problems  thinking, concentrating, and making decisions. According to the CDC, symptoms of PPD also include trouble sleeping when your baby sleeps, feeling numb or disconnected from your baby, worrying that you will hurt your baby, and fears about whether you’re a good enough mom.

The CDC also found several factors that may increase the risk of PPD, including infertility, multiple births (having twins or triplets), experiencing a miscarriage, stillbirth, or death of an infant, having a baby as a teen, premature labor, pregnancy or birth complications, and having a baby hospitalized after birth.

When it comes to diagnosing PPD, the CDC advises new families to seek help as soon as any symptoms appear. Contact your doctor and tell him or her about your concerns. The CDC posts a helpful questionnaire to help new mothers evaluate their symptoms. If you feel your situation requires urgent attention, call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

While Post-Partum Depression is a serious condition, it can be managed like regular depression in many ways. A new article in the Bismark Tribune, written by Dr. Sara Horner, outlines some of the many treatments for PPD that include medication, talk therapy and holistic approaches. As always, it’s important to talk to your primary doctor and your mental health practitioner (if you have one) about finding a treatment plan that is right for you.

Have you or a loved one had any experiences with Post-Partum Depression? Write in and tell us your story by sending an email to info@familyaware.org, or tell us about it on Facebook or Twitter.

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