What is Postpartum Depression?

By  , Expert Content
Feb 27, 2012

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What is Postpartum DepressionPostpartum depression or postnatal depression is a type of depressive illness that occurs after childbirth. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) considers postpartum depression as a subtype of major depression.


[Read:Who is at Risk for Postpartum Depression?]


Many women have periods of mood swings or blues after childbirth but it is not classified as depression.Postpartum depression can occur in as many as 10% to 20% of women after childbirth, however many cases are not recognized (about 50%).


[Read: What Causes Postpartum Depression?]


In most women it develops within the first few months following childbirth but you are at risk of developing postnatal depression for upto 1 year after childbirth. Postpartum depression usually starts in the few days after childbirth and then the symptoms gradually worsen over a period of several months or it may start suddenly. As postpartum depression can have delayed onset, any depressive episode within six months of childbirth is regarded as postpartum depression.


[Read: What are the Risk Factors for Postpartum Depression?]


Postpartum depression based on the severity of signs and symptoms can be classified as baby blues (a mild form of depression that has a period of mood disturbance) to postnatal depression (PND) to the most severe form - the postnatal psychosis.


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