Postpartum Body: Postpartum Depression

Dr. Elizabeth Pryor answers the question, Could I be suffering from postpartum depression?

Question

I had my baby two years ago and since then, I've experienced panic attacks. What is normal to experience in postpartum depression? When should a woman see a doctor?

Answer

Let me start by stating that postpartum depression is actually very common. Studies have shown that it can occur in up to 80 percent of first-time moms. This is described as postpartum blues and should not persist more than two weeks after delivery.

When a woman is experiencing this, she will be tearful, fatigued, feel worthless, etc. Our biggest concern is when a woman experiences this more than two weeks after delivery. Then she may need psychiatric care and/or medication. Those patients who remain depressed can benefit from medication such as Zoloft.

This is a very real disease and the patient must be supported by her family and medical community. The rare patient who becomes psychotic is disassociated from reality.

For your panic attacks, you may want to consider regular sessions with a counselor and medication. It is absolutely not something to be embarrassed about. Many people experience panic attacks. It can be treated. There's no reason for you to suffer.

The information on this Web site is designed for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Please consult a doctor with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your or your child's condition.

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