The Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression

Postpartum DepressionIt’s been a long 9 months, and your journey through pregnancy has come to a wonderful conclusion. Friends and family have been offering you support and love, your Facebook is literally exploding with “congrats!” notifications, your partner is literally glowing with happiness. So, why do you feel so blue?

Feeling sad after giving birth?

There’s a lot of societal pressure to be overflowing with happiness after your baby arrives, which is why it’s very hard to hear about the intense negative feelings that lots of women experience after childbirth. In fact, according to the American Pregnancy Association, 70 to 80 percent of new mothers are struck with powerful emotions that can leave them feeling weepy, exhausted, and anxious. The majority of new moms experience this – so common that it’s been dubbed the Baby Blues.

What is the Baby Blues?

The Baby Blues is an intense emotional experience that a huge amount of new mothers go through within 4-5 days of giving birth. Usual symptoms of the Baby Blues include:

  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Crying for no apparent reason
  • Insomnia (even when baby is asleep)
  • Sadness

What causes the Baby Blues?

There are a lot of reasons for new moms to be feeling sad after giving birth. One of the big ones: hormones. Throughout your pregnancy, your hormones have been the cause of mood swings, forgetfulness, cravings and more. After giving birth, your body needs time to regulate them to normal levels.

Another big reason for post-pregnancy anxiety is the fact that, well, you just made a person! That’s stressful! There’s no user manual, no tutorials, and when you take your child home for the first time it can be incredibly overwhelming. The transition from birth to motherhood is not an easy one, and sometimes it can be a bit too much to handle.

There is no single confirmed reason that the Baby Blues occurs – this is because there are so many factors involved with postpartum motherhood that affect emotions.

How long does the Baby Blues last?

Generally new moms are hit with the Baby Blues a few days after giving birth. The good news is that, by definition, it will only last two weeks. The two main points the Baby Blues is defined upon is the (relative!) mildness of the symptoms and the 2-week duration. After 2 weeks, it becomes…

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Depression, or PPD, is a disorder that is characterized by all of the symptoms of the Baby Blues, just more intense. Main indicators of PPD include feeling overwhelming anxiety and aspects of your day-to-day life being seriously affected, for example major changes in eating and sleeping habits. Postpartum Depression is one of the most common pregnancy disorders.

What are the symptoms of Postpartum Depression?

PPD peaks an average of 3 months after childbirth, but it may begin as late as 6 months after. The main symptoms of PPD include:

  • Excessive crying
  • Serious anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Eating/sleeping habits seriously affected
  • Overthinking/worrying
  • Fear you’re not a good mother
  • Thoughts of self-harm

If you experience symptoms of the Baby Blues for more than 2 weeks consult your primary care provider. If you notice a friend or loved one struggling with similar symptoms, offer to help. PPD is one of the most common pregnancy-related disorders, and it is very treatable. DON’T let the stigma of mental disorders prevent you or your loved ones from getting the help you need!