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Commonly called the “Baby Blues”, brief mood swings and crying spells that pass quickly are normal in the first 2-3 weeks after your baby is born.

Getting plenty of rest, proper nutrition and having professional postpartum doula support can be tremendously helpful. More severe and longer lasting signs, can point to postpartum depression or rarely postpartum psychosis. It is important to seek the help of a qualified professional if you suspect that you or someone you know is suffering from a postpartum mood disorder.

This article is not meant to treat or diagnose any condition. It’s purpose is to raise awareness for recognizing postpartum mood disorders. See your doctor as soon as possible if you or someone you love appears to be struggling emotionally following childbirth.

IS IT THE BABY BLUES?

Commonly called the “Baby Blues”, brief mood swings and crying spells that pass quickly are normal in the first 2-3 weeks after your baby is born.

​Getting plenty of rest, proper nutrition and having professional postpartum doula support can be tremendously helpful. More severe and longer lasting signs, can point to postpartum depression or rarely postpartum psychosis. It is important to seek the help of a qualified professional if you suspect that you or someone you know is suffering from a postpartum mood disorder. ​

DO I HAVE POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION?

If your “Baby Blues” symptoms last beyond 2-3 weeks or feel very intense you need to be seen by a medical professional.  A visit to your doctor and/or a mental health professional that specializes in postpartum mood disorders and recovery is the first step. Postpartum depression can impact your daily life and interfere with your ability to care for yourself and your family. Postpartum depression is a complication of childbirth and signs include:

  • feeling tired all the time
  • difficulty sleeping
  • loss of appetite
  • intense anger or irritability
  • severe mood swings
  • difficulty bonding with baby
  • avoiding friends and family
  • feelings of guilt or inadequacy
  • thoughts of harming yourself or your baby

POSTPARTUM PSYCHOSIS

While rare, postpartum psychosis is more severe than other postpartum mood disorders and usually develops in the first two weeks following the baby’s birth. If postpartum psychosis is suspected, seek immediate medical attention. Watch for:

  • confusion and disorientation
  • hallucinations
  • delusions
  • paranoia
  • thoughts or attempts to hurt yourself or your baby

OTHER POSTPARTUM MOOD DISORDERS

Some new parents experience other postpartum mood disorders including Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. If you had a traumatic experience before or during childbirth or in the postpartum period and you experience flash-backs, nightmares or anxiety related to the experience you should seek medical care. Postpartum Obsessive Compulsive Disorder occurs when the parent display signs of obsession, compulsion, fear of being alone with their baby or are overprotective of the baby. ​

Your emotional recovery from childbirth may not happen the way you expect. There are a number of support groups in our area and specialist that focus on postpartum recovery who can help you. Contact your doula or our office for referrals.

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