How Do I Know if I Have Postpartum Depression?

Public health authorities estimate that between ten and thirteen percent of new mothers and women who deliver subsequent babies experience postpartum depression symptoms of varying severity. You may be one of many women who get the “baby blues,” a mild state of sadness or moodiness brought about by hormonal changes or fatigue. This condition usually improves in a few days. However, if you have persistent feelings—lasting two weeks or more—of deep sadness, fear, anxiety, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, disinterest in the baby or in activities that you formerly enjoyed, extreme forgetfulness, or other negative feelings, you may need to ask your doctor to administer a test for postpartum depression. Ignoring the condition will not help it improve, and can lead to even more serious and debilitating symptoms.

Tests and Diagnosis for Postpartum Depression

Your physician can have you complete a screening questionnaire to help determine whether you may be suffering from postpartum depression. The test will ask you various things about your feelings, experiences, habits, and circumstances. Additionally, you may need a blood test to determine whether certain chemical normally produced in the thyroid gland are present in abnormally low levels. A low-functioning thyroid can often produce symptoms of postpartum depression, and tests for the presence of these chemicals in the blood are an effective way to diagnose this condition so that it can be effectively treated.

Get the Help You Need!

Some women suffering postpartum depression are ashamed of their feelings. They attempt to hide their feelings from family members and even their doctor. You should not do this. Postpartum depression is not a character flaw; it is a medical condition, and a simple test for postpartum depression can help you get back on the road to feeling better and being able to take care of yourself, your baby, and your family in the way you expect of yourself.

Take an Online Test for Postpartum Depression

If you think you may have postpartum depression, you can take a questionnaire online that could give you some clues about whether you need to see your doctor, who can administer a more authoritative postpartum depression test. Go to http://www.testandcalc.com/etc/tests/edin.asp and answer the questions on this online survey, called the “Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale.” Be honest. If this online test indicates that you may be at risk, talk to your doctor. You, your baby, and your loved ones will be glad you did. And you’ll have taken that all-important first step toward better mental health.