Postpartum Depression Diagnosis

(Also Known As: Postpartum Diagnosis, Depression Diagnosis, Baby Blues Diagnosis, Pregnancy Depression Diagnosis, Maternity Blues Diagnosis, Postpartum Exhaustion Diagnosis)

(Reviewed by: Paul Peterson, Licensed Therapist)

How is Postpartum Depression Diagnosed?

The diagnostic criteria for postpartum depression consist of the following: 5

  • The symptoms must be present for more than 2 weeks in the postpartum period in order to distinguish it from the normal baby blues experienced by women after birth.
  • The patient must experience either anhedonia or dysphoric mood for most of the day or every day for at least 2 weeks.
  • At least 4 of the following symptoms must be experienced by the patient: changes in sleep and appetite, psychomotor agitation or retardation, feeling of worthlessness and/or guilt, fatigue, recurrent thoughts of death or suicide, feeling of failure at motherhood, extreme anxiety and frequent focus on the child’s health.

The physicians are required to recognize the distinguishable features of a postpartum depression from the normal postpartum blues experienced by women after childbirth. Weight and appetite changes especially during breast feeding as well as sleep deprivation for taking care of the child are universal in early motherhood. The onset of the postpartum depression in 60% of the patients occurs in the first 6 weeks postpartum, giving the physician the perfect opportunity in making a diagnosis.

Once postpartum depression is left untreated it can interfere with the bonding between the mother and child, causing great family distress. Children of mothers with untreated and undiagnosed postpartum depression are at risk of developing behavioral problems that can equate to the following conditions: difficulty in sleeping and eating, hyperactivity, tantrums and delay in language development. Mothers with undiagnosed and untreated postpartum depression are likely to have their condition progress into a chronic depressive disorder.

Could You Have Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum Depression Topics

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