postpartum depression mom
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According to the American Psychological Association, one in seven new mothers experience postpartum depression (PPD) after the arrival of their baby. As we enter into Maternal Mental Health Week — April 30th to May 5th — it’s important to share the warning signs of postpartum depression so that mothers, babies, and the friends and family who love them can recognize the symptoms and seek the help they need.

Dr. Patricia De Marco, Medical Director of the Maternal Mental Health Program at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach, CA, shared with us the five major warning signs of postpartum depression.

Although women who have struggled with depression and/or anxiety in the past are at a greater risk for developing PPD, PPD can affect anyone. That’s why it’s important to raise awareness about the warning signs of PPD. If any of the below signs sound familiar in regards to you or someone you love, it’s time to seek professional help.

1Constant tearfulness or sadness most of the day, every day.

Feeling sad or teary-eyed following the birth of one’s baby is completely normal, Dr. De Marco explains. Many mothers experience this phenomenon called “baby blues” or “postpartum blues,” and it typically goes away after two weeks. But if this feeling intensifies and lingers for more than two weeks, a mother may be experiencing PPD and professional treatment is needed.

2Excessive guilt and feelings of worthlessness.

3Lack of interest in things you used to enjoy.

This sign is fairly self-explanatory. If a mother has no feelings towards activities or hobbies she used to enjoy — including meals, Dr. De Marco adds — PPD might be at work.

4Lack of sleep or too much sleep.

Dr. De Marco notes that lack of sleep is common after welcoming a new baby into the household. But if mom is not able to sleep while baby is sleeping, or if mom is sleeping throughout the day while baby is up, crying, or in need of attention, it’s advised that she seeks the help of a mental health professional.

5Feelings of hopelessness.

These thoughts alone are cause for concern and should be brought to a mental health professional. But in the event that these thoughts of hopelessness turn into suicidal thoughts, call 911 immediately or go to the nearest emergency room, Dr. De Marco adds.

And never hesitate to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 to reach out for immediate help.