After the birth of a new baby, many women experience a number of mixed emotions. Lack of sleep, exhaustion from a long delivery or c-section and rapid changes in hormones can all contribute to new mothers feeling anxious, depressed, overwhelmed and emotional.
Being a new mother is wonderful and stressful at the same time. It is important to get rest, ask for help when you need it, and let your doctor know if feelings of sadness, anxiety or depression linger after your baby is born.
Postpartum Blues or “Baby Blues”
This term is most often used to describe the emotional roller coaster new moms experience the first few days after childbirth. Common symptoms of baby blues include:
- Crying for no reason
- Unexplained anger at the baby or partner
- Feeling of doubt, inability to make choices
Baby blues usually improve 1-2 weeks after birth. They are thought to be a result of the rapid drop in hormones that occurs after delivery. If these feeling still persist 2 or more weeks after delivery, you should talk to your doctor, as they can develop into postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression can occur any time after childbirth, but is usually associated with strong feelings of sadness, guilt, anxiety and/or depression that interfere with the ability to take care of your baby and yourself. Women who are diagnosed with postpartum depression usually require counseling and may benefit from medication. It is important to recognize the signs of postpartum depression as it usually worsens as time goes on.
Symptoms of postpartum depression include:
- Strong feelings of sadness, guilt, anxiety or depression that seem to be getting worse
- Difficulty to completing daily tasks or taking care of yourself or the baby
- Changes in appetite
- Lack of interest in things you used to enjoy
- Anxiety or panic attacks
- Thoughts of harming yourself or the baby
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important that you talk to your doctor about it and get help immediately.
This is a very rare complication of postpartum depression where the mother may experience hallucinations or irrational thoughts. It is more common in women with a history of bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.