State of Illinois
Department of Human Services
Is it the Baby Blues or something more?
Information for women who are pregnant or who have just given birth
What is Postpartum Depression?
Having a baby can be one of the happiest and most important events in a woman's life. While life with a new baby can be thrilling and rewarding, it can also be hard and stressful at times. Many physical and emotional changes can happen to a woman when she is pregnant and after she gives birth. These changes can leave new mothers feeling sad, anxious, afraid, or confused. For many women, these feelings go away quickly, usually 10 days after delivery, and may be part of a normal experience called the Baby Blues. But, when these feelings linger or get worse, a woman may have what is called Postpartum Depression (PPD). This condition should be treated just as you would any other illness--by seeking help from a physician or a qualified mental health care provider.
What are the Signs of Postpartum Depression?
Since Your Baby's Birth, Do You Sometimes Feel...
- Restless, angry or irritable
- Sad, depressed or feel like crying a lot
- Worthless or guilty
- Afraid of hurting the baby or yourself
- Overly worried about the baby or not concerned about the baby at all.
Or Do You Sometimes Have...
- Little or no energy
- Headaches, chest pains, rapid heart beat, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet, or fast and shallow breathing
- Trouble sleeping well
- Poor eating habits (skipping meals and losing weight or over eating and gaining weight)
- Trouble focusing, remembering, or making decisions
- Little interest in things you used to enjoy, including sex
Everyone has these feelings or problems from time to time. When they occur during or after pregnancy and last for several days or weeks they could be signs of a more serious problem. If you are experiencing any of these problems or have questions, call your health care provider. A few women may have a rare type of depression (postpartum psychosis) and may experience hallucinations or suicidal/homicidal thoughts. This is an emergency and they should be seen immediately.
For information and referral call
1-800-843-6154 (Voice) or 1-800-447-6404 (TTY)
Is Help Available?
Postpartum Depression (PPD) can be treated successfully. The type of treatment will depend on a careful diagnosis of the type and causes of
PPD in each woman. PPD can be treated with medication, psychotherapy or both. Women with PPD may benefit from going to support groups to talk with other women who are going through the same thing.
Different medications affect breast feeding babies differently. Your doctor can take that into account when determining whether medication is the best treatment for you, and if so, what type and dose of medication would be best.
Any woman can develop PPD during or after pregnancy. It is nothing to be ashamed of. Talk with your physician or a knowledgeable mental health professional if you have any questions about PPD or its treatment.
For help, call: 1-866-ENH-MOMS (1-866-364-6667) Free 24-Hour Crisis Hotline
In Cooperation With
- Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
- Illinois Department of Corrections
- The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services
- Illinois Department of Human Services
- Illinois Department of Public Health
- and Conference of Women Legislators (COWL)
- The State of Illinois is an equal opportunity employer and practices affirmative action and reasonable accommodation programs.
DHS 4661 Postpartum Depression (R-03-09) Printed by the Authority of the State of Illinois.