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What is postpartum depression?

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Postpartum depression is a temporary depression that occurs in women after a pregnancy and childbirth. Many new mothers experience symptoms of postpartum blues, which include sadness, anxiety, tearfulness and trouble sleeping. According to WebMD, these symptoms often subside 10 to 12 days following birth. If these symptoms do not subside within two weeks, a woman should call her doctor as they are possible signs of postpartum depression.

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According to BabyCenter, additional symptoms that may point to postpartum depression include panic attacks, difficulty concentrating, excessive guilt and change in appetite. While occasional experiences with these symptoms following a pregnancy are not uncommon, a woman should note the frequency, intensity and duration of such feelings and report anything unusual to her doctor.

While there is no one scientifically proven explanation for postpartum depression, BabyCenter points out that hormones, environment, biochemistry, genes and psychological factors combine to play a role in the onset of postpartum depression. Some women are at a greater risk for developing postpartum depression, including those who have a personal or family history of anxiety or depression, those who are experiencing marital, financial or obstetric problems, those for whom the pregnancy was unplanned and those whose spouses are not supportive.

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