Postpartum depression is diagnosed by a licensed mental health or medical professional. Your provider will talk to you about how you’ve been feeling and will likely have you complete a questionnaire to screen for postpartum depression. Your doctor may also order medical tests to rule out any underlying physical causes of your symptoms, such as an underactive thyroid.
The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale and Postpartum Depression Screening Scale are common screening tools used to diagnose postpartum depression.
Only a licensed mental health professional or physician can diagnose postpartum depression, but reading about postpartum depression and taking self-assessments can make you more aware of your symptoms.
Many people experience the “baby blues,” which typically goes away 1-2 weeks following the birth of the baby. Postpartum depression involves more intense symptoms that last for longer than two weeks. There is no specific timeline for how long postpartum depression may last. Without treatment, some can experience symptoms for a few weeks to several months or a year or more. The good news is that you can find relief from postpartum depression much sooner with treatments like therapy, antidepressants, and support groups.