6 Early Signs of Postpartum Depression in New Moms

Apr 04, 2024
6 Early Signs of Postpartum Depression in New Moms
If you’re struggling with post-baby blues, you aren’t alone. We’ve identified six early signs of postpartum depression that new moms experience and explain how you can take your initial steps toward healing.

Congratulations on bringing a bundle of joy into the world! Along with all the highs that come with starting a family, we understand that this can be an overwhelming transition for any new mom. 

Approximately 15% of women experience postpartum depression after giving birth, making it especially hard during this transitional period to take care of themselves and their little ones. Sound familiar? If so, you are not alone. 

At Northern Virginia Psychiatric Group, our team of experts is here for you every step of the way. We diagnose and treat postpartum depression to help you get back on your feet. In the meantime, we’ll explore six early signs of postpartum depression to help you gain a better understanding of this complicated mood disorder. 

1. Persistent sadness or mood swings 

Are you constantly feeling sad or hopeless, even when everything seems fine? Do your moods fluctuate drastically from euphoria to tearfulness, making it difficult to find joy in your favorite activities? 

If you find that your emotions are constantly in flux and that it’s more difficult than ever to get through the day, it might be time to consider that this is more than just the “baby blues.”

2. Extreme fatigue or lack of energy  

Your body just accomplished an incredible feat of endurance and strength. Feeling tired after giving birth is normal, but keep an eye out for the following symptoms that may demonstrate you’re battling postpartum depression: 

  • Feeling exhausted despite enough rest and sleep 
  • Difficult concentrating or making decisions
  • Frequent headaches or muscle pain due to chronic pain 

3. Changes in appetite or eating habits 

During this pivotal time in your life, your body needs extra nourishment for you and your baby. Do you have little to no appetite, which has caused you to lose weight rapidly, or are you using food as a coping mechanism through binge eating? Reach out to us for support. 

Feeling guilty or ashamed about your eating habits can exacerbate depressive symptoms and make matters worse. Pay attention to any significant changes in your eating patterns — it could be your body’s way of sending postpartum depression warning signals. 

4. Intense anxiety or irritability 

From fatigue to unhealthy eating habits, postpartum depression can feel like it’s taking over every aspect of your life. Amidst this overwhelming experience, you might also start feeling symptoms of anxiety. If you find yourself trying to manage the issues below alongside other postpartum depression symptoms, reach out to our team: 

  • Constant worry or anxiousness about your baby’s well-being
  • Sleep troubles caused by intrusive thoughts or worries 
  • Snapping at loved ones or feeling easily agitated 

5. Withdrawal from social activities 

During difficult times, it’s especially important to have a support system and loved ones to lean on. It’s unfortunate that other early signs of postpartum depression include both social isolation and withdrawal. 

You might find that you’re avoiding leaving the house or that you’re feeling emotionally disconnected from loved ones, including your baby. This can lead to feelings of shame and guilt that pile on top of your other symptoms and make it difficult to cope. 

6. Thoughts of self-harm or suicide 

If you’re having intrusive thoughts about harming yourself or your baby, seek immediate help from our team or call emergency services. The following symptoms also require attention: 

  • Feeling like a burden and like life would be better without you
  • Having suicidal thoughts or making plans to end your life 

Ultimately, our hope is that shedding light on the early signs of postpartum depression makes you feel validated and supported on your path to recovery. Remember, you aren’t alone, and reaching out for help reflects courage, not weakness. Motherhood is yours to cherish, and with the appropriate support network, overcoming postpartum depression and flourishing is entirely within your grasp.

If you’re ready to learn more about postpartum depression and treatment options, call our office at 571-748-4588, or contact us online to schedule an appointment today.