Baby Blues Fade But Postpartum Depression Requires Treatment

Women's Health Update

Going through pregnancy and giving birth is a life-changing experience that can cause an overwhelming amount of emotional highs and lows.

In the first few days after childbirth, many women experience feeling called “baby blues,” according to the Office on Women’s Health (OWH), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

When a woman has baby blues, she might:

  • Experience loss of appetite
  • Feel anxious
  • Feel overwhelmed
  • Feel sad
  • Have crying spells
  • Have mood swings
  • Have trouble sleeping

The baby blues go away within a few days or about a week, and the symptoms are not severe enough to need treatment, according to the OWH.

Some women, however, have symptoms that become much more severe and last longer than two weeks after birth. This is called postpartum depression.

An estimated 16 percent of women who go through childbirth develop postpartum depression, according to the American Psychological Association (APA). Up to 40 percent of women who have had postpartum depression go through it again with future births.

A new mother can experience postpartum depression anytime within the first year after childbirth, according to the OWH. The symptoms can be the same as baby blues, but also can include:

  • Being disinterested in your baby
  • Thoughts about hurting your baby
  • Thoughts about hurting yourself

Sometimes women with postpartum depression feel helpless and worthless, they choose to avoid family and friends, and they suffer from frequent headaches, muscle pain, and stomach problems, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Women are more likely to also suffer from postpartum depression, according to the NIH, if they:

  • Are disconnected emotionally and lack support from their spouse, partner, family, or friends
  • Had a stressful life event during or right after pregnancy, such as job loss, a death in the family, or a personal illness
  • Had medical complications during childbirth
  • Have a family member who has depression
  • Have had depression before

If you believe you have postpartum depression, it’s important to visit your doctor for treatment.

Typical treatment includes counseling to help talk through feelings and anti-depression medications that help regulate your mood, according to the NIH.

For more information about baby blues and postpartum depression, talk with your doctor or find a physician