Baby blues vs. postpartum depression

Feeling blue after baby? You are not alone. Learn when and how to find help

woman looking stressed

Having a baby usually brings a range of emotions that can include extreme highs and lows.

These up-and-down feelings are normal and can be the result of changing hormones and the demands of caring for a new baby. But how can you determine if you are dealing with the baby blues versus postpartum depression?

Do I have the baby blues?

A majority (60-70%) of new moms experience some degree of baby blues. The way you feel in the first few weeks might be influenced by the baby blues.

Symptoms of the baby blues:

  • Mood changes
  • Weepiness or sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of concentration
  • Feelings of dependency or inadequacy

If you have any of these symptoms, talk about your feelings and take care of yourself by getting the rest, support and reassurance you need.

If the baby blues don’t go away after two weeks, call your health care provider. You could be experiencing postpartum depression.

Find a doctor: OB/GYN care at Sanford Health

Do I have postpartum depression?

Parents who have experienced postpartum depression commonly say, “I wish I had known that the No. 1 complication of childbirth is depression.” Research indicates that one in eight new moms experience postpartum depression.

Postpartum depression points:

  • Postpartum depression can come on suddenly after giving birth or more gradually in the 12 months after baby’s birth.
  • You may be more at risk if you have experienced any depression in the past.
  • Postpartum depression is different from the baby blues because it lasts longer and is more severe.

Symptoms of postpartum depression can include any of the following:

  • Extreme exhaustion
  • Irritability
  • Appetite and sleep disturbances
  • Persistent weepiness or sadness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Mood swings
  • Excessive worrying and anxiety
  • No motivation
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby

If you experience any of these symptoms, or if your partner or another family member notices them, you should seek help from your health care provider. It is important to know that postpartum depression is not a mother’s fault or a measure of one’s parenting ability; it is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain.

Postpartum depression is very treatable. But it usually does not go away on its own. Treatment usually includes therapy, a wellness plan, and, when needed, medication.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your health care provider.

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Posted In Behavioral Health, Health Information, Parenting, Women's