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· Postnatal depression is common
· Effective treatment is available- talk to your well child provider or doctor
There are three types of mood symptoms that can occur after having a baby.
Baby blues are very common and involve a brief period of feeling down and tearful in the week after the baby is born. This feeling goes away after a few days.
Postnatal depression affects about 1 in 10 women after the birth of a baby. The symptoms are there most days, for most of the time, for a period of at least two weeks. They include some of the following:
1. Mood symptoms
· Feeling persistently low, sad or depressed
· losing interest and pleasure in usual activities
· feeling irritable
2. Physical symptoms
· change in sleeping patterns
· change in appetite
· decreased energy, tiredness and fatigue
· physical slowing or agitation
3. Change in thinking
· Thoughts of worthlessness or guilt
· Thoughts of hopelessness and death
· Difficulty thinking clearly
· Anxiety including excessive worry or fear, panic attacks, phobias, excessive concern about physical health
Postnatal Psychosis is rare and involves symptoms of psychosis (being out of touch with reality) associated with changes in mood- either depressed or a really high mood. It usually begins in the first two weeks after the baby is born. This needs urgent psychiatric treatment.
It is important to seek help as soon as possible if you are developing postnatal depression or postnatal psychosis. These conditions can be treated effectively and the sooner effective treatment is started the better the chances of recovery.
Talk to your well child provider or GP.
· Family support is important
· Join a support group
· Get some exercise
· Have some time out for yourself
· Eat a healthy diet
· Avoid alcohol and illicit drugs- they may provide short term relief but will make things worse in the long run
· Counselling and support
· Specific psychological therapies especially cognitive behaviour therapy and interpersonal therapy (ITP)
· Antidepressant medications
· The depression helpline 0800 111 757 is part of the National Depression initiative. Talk to a trained counsellor. Available 8am to midnight.
- Lifeline (0800 543 354)
- Samaritans (0800 726 666)
- Youthline (0800 376 633)
The National Depression Initiative website: http://www.depression.org.nz includes a self test, information about depression and tools to help find a way through
The Lowdown is a partner website to the national Depression Initiative designed for young people
Everybody.co.nz: NZ patient information site: Postnatal depression