Postpartum Depression FAQ

One of the most impressive capabilities of the human body is childbirth. For nine months, a child develops before entering the world and beginning its journey. When it comes to childbirth, it is easy to focus on the positives that come with it. However, while there is a multitude of those, we also must remember to focus on the parents’ mental health as well. Postpartum depression is seen often in women after childbirth. 

Learning About Postpartum Depression

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists defines postpartum depression as, “Women with postpartum depression have intense feelings of sadness, anxiety, or despair that prevent them from being able to do their daily tasks.” It affects an estimated one in seven new mothers. Here, we are answering your most pressing questions. 

1. What is the difference between baby blues and postpartum depression? 

They may seem similar in the beginning. Baby blues may last only a few days or a week after childbirth, while postpartum depression takes on more severe symptoms for a more extended period. Moreover, this eventually may lead to the inability to complete daily tasks or affect interactions with the newborn. Postpartum depression can present itself up to one year after childbirth. 

2. What are symptoms to watch out for with postpartum depression? 

The symptoms can range from milder to severe, so understanding the scope of these is essential. The Mayo Clinic provides a list that details the broad range that these symptoms can present themselves below: 

  1. Depressed mood or severe mood swings
  2. Excessive crying
  3. Difficulty bonding with your baby
  4. Withdrawing from family and friends
  5. Loss of appetite or eating much more than usual
  6. Inability to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much
  7. Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy
  8. Reduced interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
  9. Intense irritability and anger
  10. Fear that you’re not a good mother
  11. Hopelessness
  12. Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt, or inadequacy
  13. Diminished ability to think clearly, concentrate or make decisions
  14. Restlessness
  15. Severe anxiety and panic attacks
  16. Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
  17. Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

3. What are the causes of postpartum depression?  

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists breaks down the causes into five categories: 

  • Changes in hormone levels 
  • A history of depression 
  • Emotional factors 
  • Fatigue
  • Lifestyle factors 

4. How do I diagnose and treat postpartum depression? 

You do not have to wait for your next postpartum checkup to discuss your concerns. Once you have spoken to your OB/GYN, there are a variety of treatments to consider. Treatment is commonly is in the form of antidepressants. However, there is also the possibility of doing a combination of talk therapy and medications. Request an appointment with your doctor to find out the best treatment plan for you.

5. How can friends and family help? 

Friends and family know their loved ones better than anyone. If you start to notice changes in the new mother in your life, take time to talk to them and figure out a course of action. 

6. What other resources are available to help with my postpartum depression?

There are many resources available to you. First, our own OB/GYN’s at Kernodle are trained to help your postpartum experience go as smoothly as possible. Along with that, there are a variety of websites centered around aiding new mothers with their emotional changes. 

Postpartum Support International hosts online support groups, along with other resources. 

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is a free and confidential helpline for individuals and families facing mental disorders. 

The Office of Women’s Health (OASH) holds many patient materials and more answers to questions related to postpartum depression. 


Postpartum depression is a typical result of childbirth that cannot be ignored. New mothers have a variety of changes on their plates that can become overwhelming and even dangerous. As a result, take the time to recognize what it can look like to not miss the signs in yourself or your loved ones—looking to find out more regarding postpartum depression and its symptoms? Contact Kernodle OB/GYN for more information. You can reach us online at or at (336) 538- 2367. 

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