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How Do You Know If You Have "Baby Blues", Or PPD (Postpartum Depression), Or Something Else?

Chances are, you don't know if you have postpartum depression (PPD), but you--or your loved ones--do know that something is just not right. If you think you might have PPD--or simply feel like something is just not right--see your physician sooner rather than later. Your symptomatic and long-term treatment may be much more successful if begun early.

PPD is defined by having five of the following symptoms, one of which must be either depressed mood or decreased interest or pleasure in your normal activities. They must be present for most of the day, nearly every day for 2 weeks or more and they must begin within 3 months of having had a baby. If you think you may have PPD, take Dr. Donnica's Decisionnaire™: print this form, check off the symptoms that you have had, and bring this with you when you consult your physician.

___  I have a depressed mood, often accompanied by severe anxiety.
___  I have a markedly decreased interest or pleasure in my activities.
___  I have a decreased appetite and/or unexpected weight loss.
___  My sleep is disturbed: I can't sleep when the baby sleeps, I awaken easily even if the baby is sleeping, or I have insomnia.
___  I feel physically agitated.
___  I feel physically lethargic--sometimes like I just can't move.
___  I feel overwhelming fatigue.
___  I have markedly decreased energy.
___  I have feelings of worthlessness.
___  I have feelings of excessive or inappropriate guilt.
___  I have trouble concentrating or making decisions.
___  I have recurrent thoughts of death.
___  I have thoughts of killing myself or just not waking up at all.

In addition:

___   I have frequent crying spells with little or no provocation.
___   I seem uncontrollably irritable, even when holding my baby.
___   I don't enjoy holding my baby.
___   I dread having to nurse/feed/change my baby.
___   I feel like I'm not caring for my baby properly--even if others say I am.
___   I feel like I might hurt my baby.
___   I feel tremendous feelings of guilt (about anything).
___   I feel worthless.
___   I'm having difficulty eating.
___   I have headaches that don't resolve with acetaminophen (Tylenol).
___   I have difficulty concentrating or remembering even the simplest things.
___   I seem to snap over the littlest things (or people say I do--I don't think they were such little things!)
___   I have had depression before.
___   I have a history of PMS.
___   I have a family history of depression or bipolar disorder.
___   I hate/resent the baby's father.
___   If that baby cries any longer I'm going to explode!
___   I don't have a supportive relationship with the baby's father.
___   I don't have other family or friends to support me emotionally or to help out with the baby or other responsibilities.
___   I had a traumatic pregnancy or delivery--or I had one of the worst experiences of my life during the pregnancy or delivery.
___   I have thoughts of hurting myself or the baby.
___   I have thoughts of hurting others.
___   I don't want to live.
___   I just can't get out of bed.
___   I had PPD with a previous pregnancy.

For more information about depression or other mental health issues, click here.

Created: 9/22/2000  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.
Reviewed: 7/26/2002  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

 Your symptomatic and long-term treatment may be much more successful if begun early. 

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