Do we really know how postpartum women are feeling?

Published on July 26, 2011 by Karen Kleiman, MSW, LCSW in This Isn’t What I Expected

To physicians and other healthcare practitioners:  If you are not asking these questions of each postpartum woman, you do not know how she is feeling:

To postpartum women: If your healthcare provider is not asking you these questions, take this list with you and be sure they know how you are feeling:

  • Have you had PPD before?
  • Do you have a history of depression?
  • Are you sleeping okay when your baby sleeps?
  • Any changes in your appetite?
  • Are you experiencing anxiety or panic?
  • Are you afraid to be alone with your baby?
  • Do you feel more irritable or angry than usual?
  • Are you worried about the way you feel right now?
  • What worries you the most about the way you feel?
  • Are you afraid you might lose control?
  • Are you afraid of the thoughts you are having?
  • Do you wonder if you’re a bad mother?
  • If you are breastfeeding, how important is that to you?
  • Do you ever have thoughts about hurting yourself?
  • Do you find it hard to make decisions?
  • Does your husband know how you are feeling?
  • How do you feel about taking medication if it helps you feel better?
  • Are there other stressful events that are impacting the way you feel?
  • Is there anything you are afraid to tell me, but think I should know?

Tips for professional and family support:

  • Do not assume that if she looks good, she is fine.
  • Do not tell her it’s normal to feel this way after having a baby.
  • Do not assume this will get better on its own.
  • Do encourage her to get a comprehensive evaluation.
  • Do take her concerns seriously.
  • Do let her know you are there if she needs you


copyright 2011 Karen Kleiman