The birth of a baby can trigger a jumble of powerful emotions, from excitement and joy to fear and anxiety. But it can also result in some feelings that you might not expect. This article describes the tests and diagnosis of a very common condition called postpartum depression (PPD) that affects over three million moms in the US alone each year.
What Our Experts Are Saying
Insights, recommendations, and advice for parents balancing babies and the blues from the doctors, subject matter experts and thought leaders in the Modern Parent Project community.
What to Do?
Direct, straightforward and summarized advice and recommendations. Parents, please consider the following insights when navigating the challenging topic of postpartum blues and moods.
What NOT to Do?
The wrong words or actions can sometimes make things worse. Parents, please consider avoiding the following potential traps when navigating the challenging topic of postpartum blues and moods.
Speak openly with your doctor about what you are experiencing.
It’s important to speak openly with your healthcare professional regarding how you are feeling. Though not normal, postpartum mood disorders are very common and you are not alone.
Create a support system who will be there for your through your experience of postpartum mood disorder.
Share how you are feeling with the people you are close to. These people will help make up your support team and will be an integral part to your recovery.
Seek Counseling with someone who specializes in or has worked with postpartum mood disorders.
Having a postpartum mood disorder can be a scary and bewildering experience. Talking with a trained professional who understands your situation will be paramount in your recovery.
Don't keep your feelings to yourself.
It’s important that you share your feelings with both your doctor and your loved ones.
Don't think that you are alone in your struggle.
Postpartum mood disorders are not normal, but they are common, and you do not have to suffer in silence.
Don't believe the lie that you are a bad mom.
Having a postpartum mood disorder does not make you a bad mom. You are struggling with a real illness that is treatable.
Postpartum Tests and Diagnosis
Share your symptoms with your doctor so that a useful treatment plan can be created for you.
Your doctor will usually talk with you about your feelings, thoughts and mental health to distinguish between a short-term case of postpartum baby blues and a more severe form of depression. Don’t be embarrassed. Share your symptoms with your doctor so that a useful treatment plan can be created for you.
As part of your evaluation, your doctor may:
- Ask you to complete a depression-screening questionnaire
- Order blood tests to determine whether an underactive thyroid is contributing to your signs and symptoms
- Order other tests, if warranted, to rule out other causes for your symptoms
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association, is often used by mental health providers to diagnose mental conditions and by insurance companies to reimburse for treatment.
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