Page last updated at 09:34 GMT, Friday, 26 June 2009 10:34 UK

Doctor's diary: Baby blues

By Dr Susie Tunstall-Pedoe


"She felt like a bad mother"

Postnatal depression affects about one in 10 mothers in the UK. It usually develops in the first few weeks after childbirth. BBC diary doctor, Dr Susie Tunstall-Pedoe, talks about the condition, and how she helped one new mum cope.

The baby blues usually occurs in the first week after a new baby is born and is a very normal experience. Mums feel tearful, exhausted and anxious about how they are going to cope, but these feelings usually don't last for long.

Around 10% -15% of women develop post-natal depression. It often presents when the baby is around three months old, but can occur up to one year after birth. Some of the common symptoms are crying a lot, difficulty sleeping, feeling like a bad mother, anxiety and panic attacks.

Some women are more at risk; those who have had depression in the past, and those who have had a difficult pregnancy or problems with the baby's health. Also women who are isolated, or have had a recent bereavement.

Often treatment will involve increased support or talking therapies, but some women require antidepressants. These work well and can be prescribed to breast feeding women.

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