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Bringing a new baby home is a major event. Although it is often a joyful period, there may be times when your emotions and moods are not what you have expected. Many women experience “baby blues.” These are some tips to help you understand feelings of sadness and when you should call your care provider about them.

Maternity Blues

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  2. Maternity Blues
  3. Postpartum Depression
  4. Postpartum Psychosis
  5. Who Will Become Depressed After Childbirth?
  6. For More Information

As many as 3 of 4 women will have short periods of mood swings, tearfulness, or irritability during the first week after birth, which can be worse when you are tired or anxious. If you are not sleeping, or you are becoming increasingly upset, you should call to talk with your care provider.

Postpartum Depression

  1. Top of page
  2. Maternity Blues
  3. Postpartum Depression
  4. Postpartum Psychosis
  5. Who Will Become Depressed After Childbirth?
  6. For More Information

About 1 of every 10 women will develop serious depression during the first year after birth, more often in the first few months. Symptoms include:

  • • Feeling like a failure as a mother

  • • Feelings of panic

  • • Loss of appetite

  • • Fear that you will hurt yourself or your baby

  • • Feeling guilty

  • • Feelings of anxiousness and insecurity

  • • Feeling overwhelmed

  • • Crying a lot

  • • Feeling like you are not normal or real anymore

  • • Difficulty sleeping—you can't sleep, even when the baby is sleeping

  • • Angry; feeling like you might explode

  • • Feeling lonely

  • • Can't make decisions

  • • Inability to concentrate or focus

  • • Thinking the baby might be better off without you

Don't wait—if you have any of these symptoms call your care provider!

Postpartum Psychosis

  1. Top of page
  2. Maternity Blues
  3. Postpartum Depression
  4. Postpartum Psychosis
  5. Who Will Become Depressed After Childbirth?
  6. For More Information

A very small number of women will experience a more severe postpartum reaction in which they lose touch with reality. Women who develop postpartum psychosis may hear or see things that are not there, or exhibit strange and sometimes dangerous behavior. This is a true emergency and help must be sought immediately.

Who Will Become Depressed After Childbirth?

  1. Top of page
  2. Maternity Blues
  3. Postpartum Depression
  4. Postpartum Psychosis
  5. Who Will Become Depressed After Childbirth?
  6. For More Information

Postpartum depression affects women from all walks of life. The exact cause is probably a combination of factors, including hormone changes that occur after birth which can affect how the brain functions. Women with a past history of depression, even times of just “feeling low,” a family history of depression, or stressful life events are more likely to develop postpartum depression. Childbirth is a major life event, and it can trigger reactions to past trauma. If you think that any of these risks apply to you, talk with your care provider before your labor and birth. Planning ahead can help prevent problems that occur during depression after birth.

Adapted from: Kennedy HP, Beck CT, Driscoll JW. A light in the fog: Caring for Women with Postpartum Depression.

For More Information

  1. Top of page
  2. Maternity Blues
  3. Postpartum Depression
  4. Postpartum Psychosis
  5. Who Will Become Depressed After Childbirth?
  6. For More Information

American College of Nurse-Midwives www.midwife.orgfocus

Depression After Delivery, Inc. 91 East Somerset Street Raritan, NJ 08869 1-800-944-4773 (4PPD) www.depressionafterdelivery.com

Postpartum Support International 927 N. Kellogg Ave. Santa Barbara, CA 93111 CALL: (805)967-7636 FAX: (805)967-0608 www.postpartum.net