Giving birth to a child is supposed to be a happy event. It’s not uncommon for people around you, including family, friends, and connections on social media platforms, to expect you to be deliriously happy, if exhausted. Instead, you may feel overwhelmed, sad, tearful, and fatigued. You may even feel like a failure as a parent, one of the worst feelings a new mom can have. Whether they last for a few hours, a few days, or longer, they are a normal part of becoming a new mother or caregiver, and can be treated with specialized care.

What is Postpartum Depression?

These so-called “baby blues” are common depressive feelings that naturally occur in the immediate days post-delivery. You might feel sad, have insomnia, or experience mood swings. These feelings are normal (50-70% of postpartum women experience this) and resolve on their own as your hormones (namely estrogen and progesterone) stabilize after dropping rapidly during labor and childbirth. There is also a correlation with a lack of oxytocin and or prolactin, both of which are hormones involved in lactation, meaning people who have a decreased or inability to lactate might be at higher risk for postpartum depression.

In approximately 1 out of 7 women, these feelings persist for more than 2 weeks, at which point it is often referred to as postpartum depression. Rarely (1 in 1,000) postpartum depression can become severe, which is called postpartum psychosis.

Symptoms of Postpartum Depression or Psychosis

The main feelings associated with postpartum depression are as described earlier; insomnia, mood disorders, and feelings of sadness, inadequacy, or hopelessness. Symptoms of the more severe postpartum psychosis include delusions or hallucinations, mania/severe agitation, paranoia, and insomnia along with feelings of hopelessness. Postpartum psychosis requires immediate intervention due to the high risk for self-harm and harm of the infant.

Treating Postpartum Depression and Psychosis

Treatment for postpartum depression or psychosis includes psychotherapy and medication with SSRIs if indicated. Support groups can also be helpful. The main thing to remember is that there is no shame in having these feelings. It is important to reach out for help from someone you trust for help for both you and your baby’s health.

Risk Factors for Postpartum Depression

Anyone can experience postpartum depression and other mental health conditions following childbirth, but a few lifestyle choices and medical history circumstances can make it more likely for some people. This includes mothers who have a history of depression or bipolar disorder, people who abuse alcohol or drugs, mothers under the age of 20, or who have significant life stressors beyond carrying and giving birth to a child. For people in these circumstances and for those who might be worried about contracting postpartum depression, screenings can start during routine visits to your obstetrician, especially one like Dr. Alex Tepper, who provides concierge services to new or recurring pregnancies.

Postpartum Care in New York City

In many cases, the pregnancy care protocols that help people deliver healthy, happy babies doesn’t stop the moment the baby has been delivered. In many cases, people who give birth need support and care for much longer than they expect, which is completely normal and should be met with compassion from your OB and pregnancy care team. To learn more about postpartum depression, its symptoms, and its risk factors, don’t hesitate to reach out to Dr. Alex Tepper, an OB/GYN practicing concierge care in NYC for all kinds of people, from high-risk pregnancies to preconception counseling. Call or contact our team online today to get a conversation started with our experts.


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Whether you are a new or returning patient, Dr. Tepper can assess your concerns and discuss your options to find the most comfortable and convenient care for you. To get started, call our office to set up an appointment.