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Post natal depression: do I need help?

If you’ve recently had a baby, are feeling weepy, having sleep trouble and experiencing changes to your appetite, and it’s been more than two weeks, then there’s a good chance that you’re experiencing post-natal depression.
 
Unlike baby blues, which is common in between 50 and 80 percent of new mums, and usually lasts around two weeks from the date of your child’s birth, post natal depression (PND) usually starts later and has more severe symptoms. In fact, it’s a form of clinical depression, and you probably need professional treatment.
 
One of the key warning signs that your depression is more than mere baby blues is that you can’t sleep when your child sleeps – no matter how tired you are. Irritability, panic attacks, loss of appetite, weepiness and anxiety are also all symptoms of PND.
 
If you suspect that you have PPD, whether it’s a week or two after your child’s birth, or months later, you should speak to your health care provider. Don’t assume that he or she will take you seriously though – PPD tends to be ignored or undiagnosed in many women. Find out what treatment options your doctor advises, and speak to him or her about diet, exercise and other lifestyle changes that can help to alleviate the symptoms of PND.
 
Don’t feel bad about your depression or think that you are a bad mother. PND is normal, and fairly common, with around 10 percent of new mums being affected. Left undiagnosed and untreated however, and especially if you are feeling violent or aggressive to your child, it can be very dangerous so if you suspect you may have PND, don’t wait – get help as soon as possible.

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