Learn the signs of postpartum depression and how to find support
The arrival of a new bundle of joy is a time filled with many emotions, ranging from happiness and excitement to fear and sadness, which can lead to a condition called postpartum depression (PPD)—a condition that's more common than you think.
It’s reported that between 10% to 20% of new mothers experience some type of clinical postpartum depression, although the exact number is largely unknown. It is estimated that there are around 900,000 women every year in the United States who suffer from postpartum depression—this includes women who have miscarried or had a stillbirth since they can also experience symptoms.
Regardless of the circumstance, it’s important to note that postpartum depression isn’t anyone’s fault. It’s a medical condition that can remain undiagnosed but seeking treatment early will help. In fact, eighty percent of women with PPD will fully recover.
PPD is longer lasting and more intense than the “baby blues,” comprised of the mood swings, sleep difficulties and anxiety that many moms feel the first couple weeks after birth. PPD symptoms are strong enough that they may interfere with your ability to care for your baby. It can set in any time in the first year after giving birth or a miscarriage, potentially lasting for months or even years if left untreated.
"You don’t have to just suffer through PPD,” says Dr. John Sobeck, senior medical director at Regence. “You can seek help and feel better with effective medications and therapies instead of months of symptoms."
It’s time to call your doctor if symptoms last longer than two weeks or get worse over time. PPD can make it hard to care for your baby and do everyday tasks, and it can also cause thoughts of harming yourself or your baby.
How you can help a loved one suffering from postpartum depression
People closest to the new mother often are first to recognize symptoms of postpartum depression. It’s important to provide emotional support and assist with daily tasks around the house and caring for the baby. Encouraging a visit to the doctor and treatment is essential to a faster recovery.
Besides your doctor, there are other resources for women who may be suffering from PPD:
- Mental Health America’s postpartum depression screening for new and expecting parents can help you assess symptoms and recommend treatment options.
- Call or text the Postpartum Support International HelpLine: 1-800-944-4773 (phone) or 800-944-4773 (text)
- If you’re feeling suicidal thoughts, immediately seek the help of a loved one, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (24 hours a day/7 days a week) at 1-800-273-8255
Regence members can access a spectrum of behavioral health resources
Whether you need occasional emotional support or ongoing mental health care, Regence has a variety of programs to prevent, identify and treat mental health and substance use disorders. Regence members who want to understand what is available under their health plan can sign in to their account on regence.com, or call us for help finding the right behavioral health resources.