What Mothers Should Know About Postpartum Depression

When a new baby arrives, new moms can have a million and one worries. Can I have caffeine? Does my baby have colic? How often should they be feeding? But something most mommies don't plan for is getting postpartum depression. Pregnancy and delivering a baby can be an emotional rollercoaster, but once the little tyke is home and settled in, some mothers just can't get rid of the blues.

Postpartum depression can make a new mother feel restless, anxious, fatigued and worthless, and some occasionally report that they feel like hurting themselves or their babies, according to the National Institutes of Health. In severe cases, a few women may need to be hospitalized to prevent them from doing something drastic for their own protection.

What Causes Depression May Be Unclear, but There are Ways to Get Better

The reasons behind the onset of postpartum depression are not fully understood. Researchers think that it may have to do with the constant flux of hormone levels during and after pregnancy, but there are a number of other factors that could play a part, such as biological mechanisms, genetics and the environment. Women who have a history of depression, a lack of support or a lot of stress are more likely to develop postpartum depression. It occurs in between one and four of every 1,000 births and usually begins within the first two weeks after delivering, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

If you or someone you know experiences postpartum, depression there are resources that you can use to reduce its severity and to treat it. Women with postpartum depression often utilize counseling and prescription medication for an antidepressants, either alone or in combination.