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Postpartum Depression

Is it the "baby blues" or postpartum depression?

Sadness. Non-stop tears. Moodiness. Guilty thoughts. A hard time doing every-day tasks. Fear of harming your baby. These are all symptoms of postpartum depression. Could you have it and not know it?

The typical woman assumes she will feel only happiness about the new addition to her life. In reality, 70 percent of women suffer from the "baby blues," and 10 to 20 percent develop postpartum depression.

The difference between "baby blues" and postpartum depression

The "baby blues" is a mild form of depression that many women feel soon after they give birth. It can be caused by changes in hormone levels, as well as by other challenges such as lack of sleep. Symptoms of the "blues" can last from several days to a week or more. The symptoms are not severe and almost always go away by themselves.

However, some women suffer from a deeper, more serious depression. This is postpartum depression, and it differs from the "blues" in the following ways:

  • It can last for a long time.
  • It usually begins three weeks after you deliver.
  • Symptoms are severe. Mothers may feel anxious and scared for much of the day. They also may have thoughts of harming themselves or their babies. Other symptoms include lack of appetite, not being able to sleep, and feeling angry.

Treatment for postpartum depression varies based on the woman's symptoms. All symptoms, whether mild or severe, are temporary and can be treated. Seeking help is an important first step in feeling better.

HAP recommends that women have a postpartum visit three to eight weeks after delivering. If you have any concerns, please ask your doctor about screening for postpartum depression.

Watch Your Mail!

If you have recently delivered, you will be receiving a special information packet in the mail. Send the completed forms back to us in the enclosed envelope to ensure you receive quality postpartum care. For information on your benefits or to help us improve your service experience, please call Client Services at (800) 444-5755.

Help is available

If you are depressed, our Coordinated Behavioral Health Management department (CBHM) can help. CBHM services are confidential and help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Learn more about depression and HAP's CareTrack™ Program to help manage depression.

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