Postpartum Depression and the Baby Blues

Postpartum Depression and the Baby Blues

Having a baby is a significant change in your life. You perhaps expect to feel happy and proud about the addition of new member in your family, but many moms feel irritable and overwhelmed instead.

It’s normal to feel this way for a bit though. After you give birth, your hormone levels drop, which affects your mood. Your newborn is possibly waking up at all hours, too, so you aren’t getting adequate sleep. That alone can make you irritable.

You might just be worried about caring for your baby, and it makes you feel a kind of stress you haven’t dealt with before baby.

It’s Not Just You

You’re not the first mom to be affected by these emotional ups and downs. Up to 80% of new mothers get what’s termed as the “baby blues” -- short-term dips in mood triggered by all of the changes that come with a new baby.

These feelings often commence when your newborn is just 2 or 3 days old, but you’re likely to feel better by the time your baby is 1 or 2 weeks old.

If your feelings of sadness are more than that, or become worse instead, you might have what’s called postpartum depression. It’s more severe and lasts longer as compared to the baby blues, and about 10% of women develop it. You’re more prone to have postpartum depression if you’ve already had stretches of depression or if it runs in your family. 

When It’s the Baby Blues

  • Your mood swings instantly from happy to sad. One minute, you’re proud of the job that you’re performing as a new mom. The next, you’re crying because you think you’re not up to the job.
  • You don’t feel like eating or taking care of yourself because you’re drained.
  • You feel irritable, exhausted, and anxious.

When It’s Postpartum Depression

  • You feel miserable, sad, worthless, or alone all the time, and you cry a lot.
  • You don’t feel like you’re accomplishing a good job as a new mom.
  • You’re not connecting with your baby.
  • You can’t eat, sleep, or take care of your baby because of your tremendous despair.
  • You might have anxiety and panic attacks.

How to Treat the Baby Blues

You will start to feel better if you do what your body needs during this stressful time.

  • Sleep a lot, and rest when your baby is napping.
  • Eat foods that are healthy for you. You’ll feel better with healthy food in your system.
  • Go for a walk. Workout, fresh air, and sunshine can do marvels.
  • Take help when people offer it.
  • Relax. Don’t worry about errands. Just focus on you and your baby.

How to Treat Postpartum Depression

You may not want to tell anyone you feel depressed after your baby’s birth. But therapy can help you feel like yourself again, so it’s important to seek help immediately.

If you have symptoms of postpartum depression or if the baby blues don’t improve up after 2 weeks, get in touch with your doctor right away. Don’t wait for your 6-week examination.

Your doctor may recommend brexanolone (Zulresso), a synthetic version of the hormone allopregnanolone, which has been said to be effective in relieving symptoms of postpartum depression. She might also suggest counseling or antidepressants e to cure your symptoms.

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