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BABY BLUES VS POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION

August 14, 2017

     Every mama and family should be prepared to address postpartum emotional concerns after bringing home baby.  The emotional spectrum new mamas go through in the days, weeks, months, and even years following the birth of her baby can be a rollercoaster for her, as well as other family members.  To start addressing these emotional concerns, it is important to be educated and able to differentiate between some mood conditions: Baby Blues, Postpartum Depression/Anxiety, Postpartum Psychosis.  Below, these conditions are defined and list their common characteristics.

 

     Please note, if you find yourself or someone you know experiencing many symptoms from any particular category and want help, its ok to ask!  There are some resources listed near the end of this blog post.  The assesment and diagnosis of any of these conditions should be made by a qualified professional.

 

Baby Blues:

  • 25-80% of new moms

  • Severity: Mild.

  • Seek support from friends & family.

  • May start 3-5 days after birth and fades after a few weeks.

  • Symptoms:

    • Weepy, crying easily over little things

    • Mood swings

    • Not able to sleep well

    • Irritable and impatient

    • Feels inadequate

    • Doesn’t feel like herself

 

Postpartum Depression/Anxiety:

  • 10-15% of new moms.

  • Severity: Medium-High

  • Seek treatment promptly from support groups & counselors.

  • Often begins 2-12 weeks after baby is born, but can begin anytime in 1st year, or when baby is weaned.

  • Symptoms:

    • Any Baby Blues symptoms, PLUS

    • Tired all the time,

    • Wants to sleep all the time

    • Can’t sleep even when baby sleeps

    • Unable to concentrate

    • Expresses guilt/inadequacy

    • Anxious, panicky, not coping

    • Shows no interest in baby

    • Hyper concerned about baby

    • Worried about harming self or baby

    • Headaches/Chestpains

    • No care for appearance, eating, or other self care

 

Postpartum Psyhcosis:

  • .1-.2% of new moms.

  • Severity: High-Life Threatening

  • Seek immediate professional treatment.

  • May begin anytime in the 1st year or when baby is weaned.

  • Symptoms:

    • Any Baby Blues or PPD symptoms, PLUS

    • Confusion

    • Severe mood swings

    • Feels hopeless or ashamed

    • Talks about suicide / hurting baby

    • Hyperactive or Manic

    • Talks quickly or incoherently

    • Acts suspicious or fearful of everything

    • Experiences delusions or hallucinations

 

If you or anyone you know are experiencing any of the symptoms listed in this blog post and are seeking more information, check out these online resources:

Postpartum Support International

PostpartumDepression.org

Postpartum Progress

It is important to note that Postpartum depression/anxiety is not usually diagnosed until after three weeks.  Most of the ups and downs of the first few weeks are entirely normal.

 

Tips for avoiding Postpartum Depression:

  • Stay well fed

  • Get sunshine

  • Rest as much as possible

  • Take short walks (after 2 weeks)

  • Gentle activities (after 6 weeks)

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help!​

 

Resource Credits:

 

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