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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Diseases and Conditions > Postpartum Depression: Treatment & Monitoring
      Category : Health Centers > Depression

Postpartum Depression

Alternate Names : Baby Blues

Postpartum Depression | Symptoms & Signs | Diagnosis & Tests | Prevention & Expectations | Treatment & Monitoring

What are the treatments for the condition?

The two most common ways of treating depression are with antidepressant medications and psychotherapy. Often a combination is used. Occasionally a woman must be hospitalized for intense treatment or for her own safety.

Antidepressant medications are effective in the following ways:

  • increasing the woman's ability to function in daily life
  • lowering the risk of suicide
  • making the woman feel better
  • The following types of medications are used to treat depression:

  • monoamine oxidase inhibitors, or MAOIs, such as phenelzine sulfate and tranylcypromine sulfate
  • other antidepressants, such as nefazodone and venlafaxine
  • selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, including paroxetine HCl and fluoxetine HCl
  • tetracyclic antidepressants, such as maprotiline HCl and mirtazapine
  • tricyclic antidepressants, also called TCAs, including amitripyline HCl and desipramine HCl
  • A woman with postpartum depression can also benefit from learning about the following coping mechanisms:

  • accepting help when it is offered and designating where help is needed
  • arranging for relaxation time
  • decreasing concern with appearances, such as a tidy house
  • getting plenty of sleep and rest
  • including others in care of the newborn when possible
  • setting priorities for task, such as household tasks
  • What are the side effects of the treatments?

    Antidepressants may cause mild and usually temporary side effects in some people. The most common side effects are as follows:

  • agitation
  • constipation
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • dry mouth
  • nausea
  • What happens after treatment for the condition?

    With medication, counseling and support, most cases of postpartum depression improve within 3 to 4 weeks.

    How is the condition monitored?

    A woman taking an antidepressant medication needs to have blood levels of the drug monitored frequently. She may have regular visits with the healthcare provider until the depression is gone. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.

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    Postpartum Depression: Prevention & Expectations


    Author: Gail Hendrickson, RN, BS
    Reviewer: Eileen McLaughlin, RN, BSN
    Date Reviewed: 09/25/01

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