The birth of a child is a major life-changing event for any family. New parents express feelings of joy and excitement. But for some parents, especially new mothers, this may also be a time of uncertainty, frustration and anxiety.
Up to 80 percent of new mothers experience “baby blues” in the first few days following delivery. You may cry for no apparent reason, be impatient, irritable, restless, and/or anxious. These are normal postpartum emotions and usually disappear on their own.
If you experience the above symptoms constantly or intensely enough to interfere with your daily activities within a year of giving birth, you may have postpartum depression. You may benefit from talking to someone, especially if you’re also experiencing the following:
- Confusion, memory loss or poor concentration
- Exaggerated highs or lows
- Fatigue or exhaustion
- Feelings of inadequacy
- Fear of harming yourself or your baby
- Lack of interest in sexual activity
- Over-concern or lack of concern for the baby
- Panic attacks
- Sadness or depression
- Sleeping and/or eating problems
- Uncontrollable crying
Virtua offers several services to help women throughout the postpartum adjustment period and beyond:
- Depression screening in the hospital after delivery
- Weekly postpartum depression support group
- Education on treatment options that may include medication and/or counseling
- Coordination with the patient's obstetrician
- Additional support through follow-up telephone calls
- Happiest Baby on the Block class to help parents learn to soothe fussy babies
For information and referrals, Virtua also offers postpartum depression telephone support at 1-866-380-2229, 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday.
If you are having any thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
Find a specialist
Sometimes, women need more than a support group to help with postpartum depression. If you need help finding a psychologist or psychiatrist, please call 1-888-VIRTUA-3 (1-888-847-8823).