Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression
After birth, you may experience a wealth of emotions. While many talk about all the positive feelings of giving birth, many experience a handful of others. Because the arrival of a new baby can impact your sleep, diet and activities, your body needs time to adjust (1). Baby blues and postpartum depression, and/or anxiety are the most common risks after giving birth (2).
So you may be thinking, aren’t the baby blues and postpartum depression the same? The answer is no!
Baby Blues are relatively mild depressive and anxiety symptoms. Therefore, most women’s Baby Blues clear within two weeks of delivery. This usually happens once your hormones have settled and milk supply has begun or passed, along with feeling that you have adjusted to these changes.
It is typically said that if depressive feelings last longer than 2 weeks, it is more likely you are experiencing postpartum depression(3). Therefore, postpartum depression is much more serious and can last longer. In the first year after the birth of a child, postpartum depression can occur at any time (4). The direct cause of postpartum depression is unknown. However, research suggests it’s likely due to many factors. These factors could include your current or past life experiences, environment, family history and genetics(5).
It’s important to note that while postpartum depression is more common in mothers, it can affect both new dads and even those who adopt (5). This risk of postpartum depression can affect your health and behavior,and might also affect your child’s development (2).
Consequently, postpartum depression is complicated. It’s important to remember it isn’t your fault. You are doing the best you can, and many people experience such feelings after birth. Because of this, asking for help is the best way to get support.
Signs and Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
- Persistent sad or anxious mood
- Feeling worthless, guilty or hopeless
- Loss of interest in things you previously enjoyed
- Withdrawal from others
- Changes in appetite
- Difficulty concentrating
- Harming yourself or your baby
You may experience mild to severe symptoms (3). Symptoms of both Baby Blues and postpartum depression are very individualized. Due to societal expectations of what it means to be a “good mother,” including how you should feel, think, and act, new mothers often don’t admit these signs and symptoms to themselves(6). Therefore, women with postpartum depression are unlikely to feel better unless they receive treatment (3).
Treatment for Postpartum Depression
Those who experience Baby Blues often get better within 2 weeks without any treatment. However, when it comes to postpartum depression, treatment is important and usually needed to get better. Treatment is also personalized and can be done through mediation or therapy.
In addition to treatment, new parents often struggle to take care of themselves, which is also important. Check out our blog post on Navigating Postpartum Self Care.
Resources for Support
We here at The Nest are not qualified to diagnose one with Postpartum Depression. Therefore, if you or someone you know is suffering from postpartum depression, here are some resources we would first suggest:
- Health Care Provider (Doctor, Obstetrician-Gynecologists or Midwife)
- Canadian Mental Health Association 1-866-531-2600
Final Notes from The Nest
It can be tough to cope with postpartum depression. When depression is added to the difficulties of becoming a new parent, the challenges can seem overwhelming (5). The truth is, there is no such thing as a perfect pregnancy, birth, child, or parent, and you are doing the best you can. Asking for support and getting the proper care, will help you to recover and be able to spend time with your family.
Article Written by Bailey McDonagh
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- The baby blues and postpartum depression [Internet]. Manitoba . [cited 2022Mar20]. Available from: https://www.gov.mb.ca/healthychild/healthybaby/tip_sheets/postpartum_depression.pdf
- Guintivano Jerry, Manuck Tracy, Meltzer-Brody Samantha. Predictors of postpartum depression: A comprehensive review of the last decade of evidence. Clinical Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2018;61(3):591–603. https://doi.org/10.1097/GRF.0000000000000368
- Perinatal depression [Internet]. National Institute of Mental Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; [cited 2022Mar20]. Available from: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/perinatal-depression
- Judge MP, Beck CT. Postpartum depression and the role of nutritional factors. Handbook of Nutrition and Pregnancy. :283–303. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-59745-112-3_19
- Mental health [Internet]. CMHA Ontario. [cited 2022Mar20]. Available from: https://ontario.cmha.ca/documents/postpartum-depression/
- 20123 postpartum depression [Internet]. CAMH. [cited 2022Mar20]. Available from: https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-illness-and-addiction-index/postpartum-depression