Postpartum Depression Assessment
This article from our Health Library is for educational purposes. Please contact us with questions specific to the services we provide, to find a doctor or to schedule an appointment.
Postpartum Depression Risk Assessment
It's natural to feel strong emotions when you're pregnant and just after you've had a baby. You may feel elated, or you may feel sad. Many women have the "baby blues" just after birth. They feel sad, impatient, or irritable. These feelings usually go away in a week or two. They don't always need to be treated by a health care provider. For some women, feelings of sadness are much more intense. These intense feelings are called postpartum depression, or PPD. Changes in hormones and brain chemistry are linked to PPD; these are not things you can control, and you may need help. Postpartum depression can be treated with medication and counseling.
This assessment asks you questions to help you figure out your risk for postpartum depression.
You have of the risk factors for postpartum depression (PPD). This doesn't mean you definitely will develop PPD after you have your baby. It means that you may be more likely to. You should talk this over with your health care provider. The more risk factors you have, the greater your chance of developing PPD after your baby is born. Even if you develop PPD, it can be treated.
You have of the symptoms or risk factors that may mean you have postpartum depression (PPD). You should talk this over with your health care provider. The more symptoms you checked, the more likely it is that you have PPD. If your health care provider says you have PPD, he or she will help you get the treatment that is best for you.
You have of the symptoms or risk factors that may mean you have postpartum depression (PPD). Because you are worried about hurting yourself or your baby, you should see your health care provider right away. This is an emergency. Other statements you checked may also mean you have postpartum depression. The more symptoms you have, the more likely it is that you have PPD. If your health care provider says you have PPD, he or she will help you get the treatment that is best for you.
You have not indicated that you have risk factors or symptoms of postpartum depression. Based on this information, you are not likely to develop, or likely to have postpartum depression. This is not an absolute guarantee; if you are worried that you might have postpartum depression, talk to your health care provider about your concerns.
You are more likely to develop PPD if you had it with a past pregnancy or if a family member has depression or another mood disorder. You are also more likely to develop PPD if you have depression or anxiety problems during pregnancy; if your personal life is stressful; and if you have few friends or family members to help you after the birth of your child. A baby who is very difficult to console, or who is sick or premature, can also increase your risk for PPD.
If you are at risk for PPD, talk with your health care provider before your baby is born. Find out how you can identify PPD early and get help. Mild PPD can be eased by talking with a mental health professional and getting family support. Moderate to severe PPD usually requires both counseling and medication.
Your new baby
Caring for a newborn can be stressful. Here are suggestions to help you cope:
- Try to nap when the baby naps.
- Eat well-balanced, nutritious meals.
- Don't try to do everything yourself. Ask your husband, partner, a friend, or family member for help with household chores and other tasks.
- Share your feelings with your husband, partner, a friend, or family member.
- If possible, get out of the house every day for a short walk or to run an errand.
- Talk to other mothers. Find out how they managed this challenging time.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional health care. Always see a health care provider for advice about your health or your baby's health. Only your health care provider can determine whether you have postpartum depression.