Concerned new moms often call me to ask, “Are my feelings normal or am I depressed?” Here are two basic guidelines to help you differentiate between the Baby Blues and postpartum depression (PPD).
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Baby Blues are totally normal and most moms (60-80%) experience them. On the other hand, PPD is a disorder. As a matter of fact, postpartum depression is the most common complication associated with childbirth. One in seven new mothers experience this disorder.
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There are two main ways to differentiate Baby Blues from PPD. First, Baby Blues always begin in the first few days following delivery and it should be gone by about two weeks postpartum. The symptoms are mild – frequent teariness, feelings of dependence and stress. If these mild Blues continue past two weeks postpartum, it’s now called postpartum depression. Duration of the symptoms is the first way to tell the difference between the normal Blues and the disorder PPD.
Postpartum depression may begin immediately or at any time during the first year following delivery. Sometimes PPD occurs when the mild Baby Blues continue and at other times the symptoms of the Blues begin spiraling downward and becoming more serious. Although PPD typically peaks around three months postpartum if it’s not treated, it can start even months after the baby is born.