Are You Experiencing the Baby Blues or Postpartum Depression?
April 5, 2022Not feeling like yourself after delivering your baby? Moms experience waves of emotions and hormone fluctuations after giving birth, but sometimes it’s more than just the baby blues. Here’s how to tell if you may be experiencing postpartum depression.
The Baby Blues
How can something so magical as having a new baby bring you down? Blame it on hormones. After you give birth, your estrogen and progesterone levels drop suddenly, causing mood swings and feelings of sadness, often referred to as the baby blues. Eighty percent of new parents have the baby blues, so you are not alone.1
The baby blues might leave you feeling angry, sad, cranky, anxious, lonely, overwhelmed, or incompetent as a parent. You might also have difficulty sleeping, eating, or concentrating.
These blues generally start two to three days after baby is born and can last up to two weeks. They usually go away on their own, without treatment. But sometimes, the blues are more than just the blues.
Postpartum depression, or PPD, is a medical condition that produces feelings of sadness or worry. It is more serious than the baby blues and is the most common post-pregnancy complication for new moms, affecting up to 1 in 7 women.2 Some possible causes of PPD could include a family history of depression, fluctuating hormone levels, or low levels of thyroid hormones.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
PPD often starts within one to three weeks of having a baby. If left undiagnosed and untreated, PPD can make it difficult to take care of yourself and your new baby. Here is what to look for:
Changes in emotions:
- Feeling hopeless
- Feeling ashamed
- Feeling guilty
- Feeling anxious and panicked
- Feeling angry and irritable
Changes in lifestyle:
- Isolating from family and friends
- Eating too much or too little
- Sleeping too much or not enough
- Losing interest in activities you used to participate in
- Experiencing overwhelming fatigue
- Having difficulty making decisions or thinking clearly
Changes in self-perception
- Having difficulty bonding with baby
- Feeling inadequate as a mother
- Thinking about harming your baby
- Thinking about harming yourself
How to Treat Postpartum Depression
It’s important to remember this: postpartum depression is not your fault and does not reflect on you as a person or a mother. And thankfully, PPD is treatable.
If you are experiencing any of these signs, consult a healthcare provider, whether it’s your general practitioner, obstetrician, or mental health provider. They can provide a diagnosis by asking you a series of questions.
Treatment could be a combination of counseling, medications such as antidepressants or estrogen, a physical activity plan, and a healthy diet.
The sooner you see a provider, the sooner you can treat PPD and enjoy motherhood.
Prenate® Vitamin Family
This post is brought to you by the Prenate® Vitamin Family, a line of prescription prenatal supplements designed to enhance preconception, prenatal, and postpartum nutrition in women. Talk with your doctor about how taking a daily prescription prenatal or postnatal vitamin could help support a healthy pregnancy and postpartum wellness.