How long is depression supposed to last after having a baby?”
About 75-80 percent of new moms report feeling weepy, irritable and sad for a few hours or days in the weeks after giving birth. This passing condition is known as the “baby blues,” and it appears to be caused by shifting enzyme levels in the brain. Recovering from a difficult birth and the emotional demands and sleeplessness of new parenthood can also contribute. By definition, the “baby blues” goes away in less than two weeks. But if the feelings of sadness, hopelessness, guilt or anger persist for longer than that, though, you may be suffering from postpartum depression (PPD), which about 13 percent of new moms experience. And if your symptoms occurs after about six months or so after birth, what you have plain-old depression, for what it’s worth. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of depression are:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Irritability, restlessness
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
- Fatigue and decreased energy
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
- Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
- Overeating, or appetite loss
- Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment.
If you have persistent negative feelings, lasting for more than three days in a row, or if you have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby or others, it’s very important to let your health care provider know right away. Depression can keep you from caring for yourself and bonding with your baby, and help and effective treatments are available.