Is it the "baby blues" or Postpartum Depression (PPD)?

Up to 80% of mothers will have some difficult feelings in the days after giving birth. This may include irritability, anger, sadness and low energy. If these symptoms are mild, it is likely that they are normal feelings that many people experience during or right after pregnancy and they will likely lift within a couple of weeks. However, sometimes these mild feelings of upset can lead to deeper problems.

If you are pregnant or have become a parent in the last year take a look at this list of symptoms. If you have had any of them that have lasted more than two weeks, you should talk to your health care provider.

o   Lack of interest or enjoyment in activities I used to enjoy

o   Feeling disconnected from my baby

o   Feeling sad, anxious, worried, scared, worthless, guilty or ashamed

o   Feeling angry, agitated or irritable

o   Often very tired

o   Looking after yourself or your baby seems to take an enormous effort

o   Feeling hopeless, frustrated, isolated or alone

o   Difficulty with sleeping, eating or concentrating

o   Day to day tasks seem overwhelming

o   Problems with breastfeeding

o   Having scary or intrusive thoughts or dreams

See your health provider right away if you are having thoughts of suicide or harming yourself or your baby.

Most new parents will experience some of these symptoms. If they are mild or are present for a short time, it is nothing to worry about. However, if they feel intense or are present for two weeks or more, it is important to seek help. PPD can interfere in your relationship with your baby, friends and family. It does not mean you are a bad parent. Don’t suffer needlessly. Speak to your doctor or midwife or use one of the following resources.

Resources

For more extensive information about PPD and services in Toronto go to:

City of Toronto - Postpartum Depression and Anxiety Information

For a comprehensive list of services in Toronto go to:

Postpartum Depression Anxiety Booklet

211 is a free, confidential helpline for finding support and community services anywhere in Ontario.

 

Sources:

Healthy Human Development Table. (2016) Perinatal Health and Public Health: Evidence Summary from the Healthy Human Development Table. Toronto, ON

Haring, M., Smith, J., Bodnar, D., & Ryan, D. (2011). the NEST-S program. In coping with depression during pregnancy and following the birth (pp.3:12-30). British Columbia: BC Mental Health and Addiction Services

Best Start Resource Centre. (2017). Life with a new baby is not always what you expect - Postpartum mood disorders. Retrieved from http://en.beststart.org/sites/en.healthnexus.ca/files/resources/displays/PPMD_roll_up_display_08_eng.pdf

Allison Thompson