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Women's, Children's and Family Health

The Emotional Side of Pregnancy and Birth

Having a baby can be one of the biggest and happiest events in a woman's life. Each pregnancy and birth brings new and different feelings and experiences. Some of the most intense feelings of contentment and fulfillment may mingle with feelings of anxiety, fear, sadness or depression. If depression is left untreated during pregnancy, it can result in complications.

Immediately after a birth there is often fatigue and a period of rapid physical change. Variations in hormones can cause moodiness. Postpartum depression is a term used to describe a wide range of emotional changes that can occur after having a baby. Depression can be treated, but it must first be recognized. Depression can occur within days after delivery and may be only mild and last only a short time. This kind of depression may not need treatment. Sometimes having a supportive partner, friend, or other new mothers to talk things over with is helpful.

If feelings of sadness or anxiety do not go away or if they get worse and begin to interfere with daily activities or the ability to care for a new baby, professional help is definitely needed. In rare circumstances women with depression have harmed themselves or their baby.

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