Many women experience mood swings or mood changes after giving birth. In fact, up to 80 percent of women experience some sort of mood changes or “baby blues” following pregnancy.
Your baby is finally here! Although you spent months preparing, it is likely that mood swings have caught you off guard. Many women experience mood swings or mood changes after giving birth. In fact, up to 80 percent of women experience some sort of mood changes or “baby blues” following pregnancy. While these emotional changes are completely normal, they can be frustrating for a new mother.
Symptoms of the baby blues include feeling depressed, having difficulty concentrating, experiencing a loss of appetite and sleeping poorly. The symptoms typically begin three to four days following birth and may last several days. However, if symptoms persist or are more severe, you may be experiencing a more serious postpartum depression or anxiety disorder.
What Is Postpartum Depression?
Postpartum depression can interfere with your ability to care for your baby and complete other necessary tasks. Postpartum depression differs from the baby blues in that its symptoms last longer and are often more severe. While there is no single known cause for postpartum depression, physical, emotional and lifestyle factors are all believed to play roles.
Symptoms of postpartum depression include:
- Difficulty sleeping, including trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep or sleeping more than usual
- Restless, irritable or anxious feelings
- Feeling sad
- Worthless, hopeless or guilty feelings
- Frequent crying
- Reduced energy and motivation
- Lack of appetite
- Loss of interest or pleasure in life
- Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
- Withdrawal from family and friends
When to See a Doctor
If you begin to show signs of postpartum depression after the birth of your child, seek help. It’s important to let your healthcare provider know what’s going on.
- Some families use bed-sharing as a way to bond with their babies; however, the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages bed-sharing, stating that the practice puts babies at risk for suffocation and strangulation. Always place your baby in his or her own crib for sleeping.
- Treatment for postpartum depression may vary from patient to patient, but support, counseling and medications have all been known to help. Your healthcare provider can help determine what type of treatment is best for you.