Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Depression after Childbirth Overview

Another name for Depression after Childbirth is Postpartum Depression.

What is postpartum depression?
A woman with postpartum depression has symptoms of depression following the delivery of an infant. About 10 to 15 percent of women develop postpartum depression. Postpartum depression usually resolves over 4 to 12 months. The cause of postpartum depression is unknown.

What are the symptoms of postpartum depression?
Symptoms of postpartum depression include sadness, fear, guilt, hopelessness, irritability, difficulty sleeping, lack of interest in the infant, and decreased enjoyment from usual activities. Additional symptoms of postpartum depression include anxiety, loss of appetite, weight loss, and difficulty concentrating. Symptoms of severe postpartum depression include anger, hostility, violent behavior, and suicidal or homicidal thoughts.

How does the doctor treat postpartum depression?
Treatment for postpartum depression includes antidepressant medications, estrogen therapy, and mental health counseling. Treatment for severe postpartum depression may include electroconvulsive therapy.

Continue to Depression after Childbirth Incidence

Last Updated: Feb 11, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Depression after Childbirth References
  1. Dennis CL, Creedy D. Psychosocial and psychological interventions for preventing postpartum depression. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004 Oct 18;(4):CD001134. [15495008]
  2. Horowitz JA, Goodman JH. Identifying and treating postpartum depression. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2005 Mar-Apr;34(2):264-73. [15781605]
  3. Perfetti J, Clark R, Fillmore CM. Postpartum depression: identification, screening, and treatment. WMJ. 2004;103(6):56-63. [15622821]
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