Becoming a mother: Signs, treatment of postpartum depression

Fox 11’s Samantha Boatman continues her motherhood journey by talking about her experience with postpartum blues.

She sat down with a doctor to talk about the difference between postpartum depression, and what she experienced, postpartum blues.

“When I had Annabelle nine and a half months ago, I was on cloud nine. I also found myself a few days after her birth feeling scared, feeling down and feeling inadequate. My first thought was postpartum depression, but after talking to a few doctors, I realized I had the postpartum blues, something very common among new moms that usually happens a few days after delivery,” says Boatman.

Dr. Myron Bethel, the Medical Director for Renown's Women Health says postpartum blues is very short-lived and usually lasts about two weeks after delivery.

"Postpartum blues is a distinct different diagnosis than postpartum depression,” Dr. Bethel says. “You have this massive drop in hormones, this new baby coming into their life, and then this great stressful event being a parent creates postpartum blues.”

Dr. Bethel says if that that low mood continues after that two weeks, then the new mom may have postpartum depression. It happens in about 9 percent of new moms.

"Interestingly enough, we know that some patients who have postpartum depression actually have some degree of depression prior to delivery, In fact 50 percent of patients who have postpartum depression will see some depression while pregnant,” says Dr. Bethel.

Postpartum depression can actually last a year, and believe it or not, Dr. Bethel says your pediatrician can pick up on some postpartum depression symptoms.

"They're actually sometimes the first people that can find it and we see it in the postpartum period about 2-3 weeks out when we see them for their postpartum visit,” says Dr. Bethel.

Some symptoms of postpartum depression include low mood, not finding pleasure in daily activities, concentration and memory issues, insomnia and crying. Dr. Bethel says if these feelings continue 2 weeks after delivery, and your support system isn't helping-- it is time to seek help.

“Trying to figure out the stressors that are bringing out these depressive moods, and what you can do to try and help it. If that's not effective, then there's certainly a consideration for medication. From my perspective, if we see it go back two or three weeks, we have to give strong consideration to use of medication," says Dr. Bethel.

He says medication isn't the only option for treatment. Yoga has been suggested, as well as light therapy, and just help from support systems at home. Dr. Bethel says sometimes it just takes someone at home listening.

"Listen to what is bothering her, that's extremely effective and I really do think that their family and extended family help quite a bit,” says Dr. Bethel.

Dr. Bethel also says 40 percent of women who experienced postpartum with their first pregnancy will experience it with their second.

If you or someone you know is experiencing postpartum depression, contact your doctor. You can also contact the Renown Women’s Health Center at 775-982-5000.

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