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Postpartum Depression

You’ve just had a baby. You know you should be excited and happy. But instead you find yourself crying for no reason. You feel sad, tired, and hopeless most of the time. You may even feel ashamed or guilty. But what you’re going through is not your fault. And you can feel better. Talk to your doctor. He or she can help.

What Is Depression?

Depression is a mood disorder that affects the way you think and feel. The most common symptom is a feeling of deep sadness. You may also feel as if you just can’t cope with life. Other symptoms include:

  •    Gaining or losing a lot of weight
  •    Sleeping too much or too little
  •    Feeling tired all the time
  •    Feeling restless
  •    Feeling worthless or guilty
  •    Having trouble thinking clearly or making decisions
  •    Thinking about death or suicide

Depression After Childbirth

You may be weepy and tired right after giving birth. These feelings are normal. They’re sometimes called the “baby blues.” These blues go away after 2 or 3 weeks. Postpartum (meaning “after birth”) depression lasts much longer and is more severe. It can make you feel sad and hopeless. You may also fear that your baby will be harmed. And you may worry about being a bad mother.

What Causes Postpartum Depression?

The exact cause of postpartum depression isn’t known. It may be due to changes in your hormones during and after childbirth. You may also be tired from caring for your baby and adjusting to being a mother. All these factors may make you feel depressed. In some cases, your genes may also play a role.

Depression Can Be Treated

The good news is that there are many ways to treat postpartum depression. Talking to your doctor is the first step toward feeling better.

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