“Baby Blues” vs. Postpartum Depression

 “Baby Blues” vs. Postpartum Depression

You just had a baby, something you have been dreaming about for years. So you should be ecstatic, right? Well maybe not.  It can be normal to feel a little sad a few days or up to two weeks after having a baby. 80% of women who have recently given birth experience the “baby blues”. But when do the  “baby blues'' become actual postpartum depression? To answer this question, let’s first dive into the “baby blues”. The “baby blues'' are a temporary wave of sadness that happens within days of giving birth. 

Patients may have: mood swings, sadness, irritability, crying episodes, decreased appetite, trouble sleeping and feeling overwhelmed. Although no one knows for sure, the “blues” may be caused by fluctuating hormones, exhaustion, and concerns over your new role as a mother. You can be more at risk for developing the “blues'' if you experienced it with a previous pregnancy. The “baby blues'' can last up to 2 weeks. If this is happening make sure you discuss with your partner what you are feeling.  It might be time for them to step up and help more with the baby so you can get a little more rest and care for yourself. You should notify your healthcare provider if the symptoms get worse or do not improve after two weeks.

Postpartum depression is very similar to the “baby blues'', except it lasts longer and the symptoms are more severe and disruptive to your life. Previous episodes of depression, or anxiety can increase your chance of developing postpartum depression. Some women who had  postpartum depression with a previous pregnancy and required medication may consider immediately restarting medication after their delivery.  This could help prevent you from getting severe symptoms before seeking help. Postpartum depression symptoms can include: depressed mood, excessive crying, difficulty bonding with your newborn, withdrawing from family and friends, loss of appetite, inability to fall asleep, feeling overwhelmed and difficulty concentrating or making decisions.  Severe symptoms could even include thoughts of death or suidice. If you experience any of these symptoms you may have postpartum depression and you need to contact your obstetrical medical provider. While postpartum depression can feel incredibly isolating, it is very common and as many as 15% of new mothers experience it. Your obstetrical provider is trained to treat postpartum depression. There are many ways to treat depression.  Psychotherapy and medication have their places.  

Your obstetrical provider should be able to refer you to therapists in your area that specialize in postpartum depression.  Also, if appropriate, your provider may recommend or offer antidepressants.  Although not for everyone, some patients benefit greatly from these medications on a short term basis.  The goal is to help you feel well enough to function in your new role as a mother.
Our team at Creekside OB/GYN of Folsom is here to support you before and after you deliver.  If you are having any concerns about the “baby blues” or postpartum depression call us at 916-984-7428.

Please, call 911 if you have thoughts of harming yourself or others.