POSTPARTUM RESOURCES

Is it Baby Blues or Postpartum Depression

Is it baby blues or PPD?

Most new moms would agree that the first days after childbirth are a mix of emotions. Your hormones are rapidly changing, your body is trying to heal, and your sleep is minimal. I remember the first week after giving birth as a constant rotation between profound joy, fear, uncertainty, crying, anxiety, rage and happiness. My emotions changed on a dime and often without reason.

These emotional ebbs and flows are common for new moms – but how can you tell when you’re experiencing baby blues or the more serious postpartum depression (PPD)? Knowing the difference and watching for symptoms can help you seek support sooner, which can shorten the duration and severity of PPD.

Is it Baby Blues?

Baby blues affect approximately 60-80% of new moms and are due to hormone fluctuations and acute sleep deprivation. Feeling emotional during this time is entirely normal and often lasts between 2 days – 2 weeks, peaking around 3–5 days after delivery.

5 Common Symptoms of Baby Blues:

  1. Mood Swings: Rapid changes in emotions.
  2. Irritability: A heightened sense of agitation.
  3. Anxiety: Concerns about your baby’s well-being and your new role.
  4. Fatigue: Exhaustion due to caring for a newborn with little sleep.
  5. Sadness: Moments of feeling down or tearful.

Is it Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression may first look like the baby blues – but the difference is in the intensity, timing and duration. PPD symptoms are more severe and can impact your ability to care or bond with your baby. Unlike baby blues, PPD symptoms can start anytime in the year following birth – or even during pregnancy – and without support, can last a year or more.

8 Common Symptoms of Postpartum Depression:

  1. Persistent Sadness: Overwhelming feelings of emptiness or hopelessness.
  2. Loss of Interest: A noticeable disinterest in the activities you once enjoyed.
  3. Appetite Changes: Significant weight change or appetite loss.
  4. Sleep Disturbances: Difficulty in finding restful sleep, even when its available.
  5. Fatigue: A continuous sense of exhaustion that doesn’t improve with rest.
  6. Difficulty Bonding: Challenges in forming an emotional connection with your baby.
  7. Irritability and Anger: Increased frustration and irritability.
  8. Lack of Concentration: Poor concentration, focus and indecisiveness.

While distinguishing between the baby blues and PPD can be challenging, as symptoms can overlap, if symptoms persist after 2 weeks postpartum, it is not the baby blues.

Postpartum depression requires attention and care. Early intervention can help shorten and lessen the impact of PPD. Recognizing the difference, seeking support when needed, and finding community to support you are crucial steps. You are not alone.

Sources:

  1. American Psychological Association (APA). “Postpartum Depression.” APA website
  2. Mayo Clinic. “Postpartum Depression.” Mayo Clinic website
  3. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). “Postpartum Depression Facts.” NIMH website

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