Between a half and two-thirds of women who have just given birth to a child suffer from minor mood disturbances, with symptoms usually reaching their peak around three to four days after giving birth. These self-limiting symptoms include irritability, mood fluctuations, crying episodes and typically resolve within a few days.
However, some women experience more serious depressive symptoms, with the severity reaching a peak a few weeks after giving birth. Women with a history of depression are particularly susceptible to this, as are women with limited social support. Tiredness, irritability, and anxiety symptoms are usually more prominent. Many clinics routinely screen new mothers with the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale to detect such mood problems, given that this condition often goes unnoticed.
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