Baby Blues vs. Postpartum Depression

In this post I will discuss the differences between simple baby blues and full blown postpartum depression. It’s normal for women to be emotional after delivery because of the fluctuation in hormones. But sometimes, the fluctuations can put a woman into full blown postpartum depression. This can be devastating and dangerous for any woman and her family.

Baby Blues: 

  • Occurs naturally due to drop in estrogen and progesterone
  • 70-80% of women are affected
  • Short-lived period of feeling sad, weepy, or otherwise moody, usually lasting about 2 weeks after birth

Postpartum Depression: 

  • Depression triggered by the drop in estrogen and progesterone
  • Feelings of sadness, anxiety, irritability, and depression lasting longer than 2 weeks
  • Lack of interest in baby
  • Changes in concentration, sleeping habits, and eating habits
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Fatigue
  • *Intrusive thoughts*- severe symptom that can be thoughts of self harm, suicide, or harm to the baby
  • Can emerge anywhere between 2-3 months to the first year

 

Baby blues is NORMAL postpartum depression is NOT NORMAL. If you are feeling excessive symptoms that are debilitating, interfering with your life, self care or care of the baby GET HELP. Call your OB or midwife and discuss treatment options. It’s important to get on top of it right away before severe symptoms such as intrusive thoughts emerge.

 

Treatment Options: 

  • Exercise, eating healthy
  • Talk to your partner! Make sure your partner knows how you’re feeling and ways that they can help. Make sure they participate in therapy and other treatment if needed
  • Me time! Lots of moms get lost in their new role of mom and forget themselves. It’s so important to remember not only what kind of mom you want to be, but what kind of woman you want to be. Remember your hobbies, let dad take the baby for awhile. Long showers, walks, or yoga are good ways to sneak in some me time.
  • Support groups
    • Most hospitals, like Sinai, has a postpartum support group. These groups are all over and most can be found with a simple internet search! If you are struggling to find one, ask your OB or midwife or the hospital where you delivered and they most likely can give you a few referrals.
    • Some are specifically for those experiencing Postpartum depression
    • Simply finding other moms who feel the same as you do can help lighten your own bad feelings and depressive symptoms
  • Therapy: If you are still struggling after participating in a support group, therapy is always an option. Ask your OB for referrals and some therapists who specifically treat  postpartum depression.
    • These therapists can help you with techniques to deal with your depressive thoughts
  • Medications
    • This can a last resort if you feel against it and lot of anti-depressants are not safe with breastfeeding. Talk to your OB and psychiatrist about possible routes

 

The most important thing is to remember that you are not alone and this is normal. This is NOT an indication of your ability as a mother. It’s important to get help as soon as you can so that you can enjoy your postpartum time with your baby and your family. 

As always, let me know if you have any questions!

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