As many as 85% of new moms experience some form of the baby blues after giving birth. The feelings often include being irritable, exhausted, crying for no reason, and worrying that you won’t be a good mom. 

These mood swings may be due to hormonal changes, lack of sleep, the physical recovery from labor and birth, and usually go away on their own quickly in the first 1-2 weeks.

Postpartum Depression

For as many as 15% of new moms, the baby blues develops into postpartum depression (PPD), and this can happen anytime within the first year of giving birth. PPD’s symptoms are more intense:

  • Feelings of doom
  • Lack of joy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Intense anger
  • Emotional numbness
  • Feeling like you never should have become a mother
  • Feeling unable to care for yourself or your baby
  • Thoughts of hurting yourself or your baby
  • Desire to withdraw from others, including your baby
  • If you have any of these symptoms post birth, it’s important to see your healthcare provider. Sometimes you may be too tired to notice the symptoms, but your partner, a family member, or friend may share that something just isn’t quite right.

Postpartum Psychosis

Beyond PPD is another problem that affects fewer than 1% of all moms, and it’s more extreme: postpartum psychosis (PPP). Seek medical treatment immediately if you are experiencing extreme symptoms, such as:

  • Hearing voices or seeing things others do not see (hallucinations)
  • Paranoia or suspicions about others
  • Recurrent thoughts of harming your baby

PPP typically occurs suddenly and within the first 4 weeks after birth. You may only have one incident but it’s important to call 911. Just like PPD, it can be treated. It’s essential to recognize your symptoms, ask for help, and get treatment. 

Are you at risk for postpartum depression?

Discuss the list below with your pregnancy care provider and partner. You may be at higher risk if you experience any of the following: 

  • Complications during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding
  • History of depression, including PPD, or anxiety
  • Infertility, miscarriage or stillbirth
  • Unplanned cesarean
  • Baby is taken to the NICU
  • Worry about your relationships
  • Financial stress

Reduce Stress

To reduce your stress, there are activities that you can do daily, such as: 

  • Go outside for a walk or picnic
  • Take a bath or shower
  • Call a friend
  • Listen to music
  • Get a massage
  • Join a support group
  • Practice yoga
  • Take a nap
  • Write in a journal

Get Support

  • Postpartum Support International: 1-800-994-4773 or
  • National Postpartum Depression Hotline: 1-800-PPD-MOMS
  • 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: Call or text 988
  • National Maternal Mental Health Hotline: 1-833-TLC-MAMA (1-833-852-6262)

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