Coping With the Baby Blues

What are the Baby Blues?

Maternal baby blues, also known as postpartum blues or maternity blues, is a common condition experienced by 85% of  women after giving birth. The Baby Blues cause feelings of sadness, anxiety, irritability, and mood swings. This  usually occurs within the first few days after delivery and can last for up to two weeks.  Interestingly, 10% of new fathers experience the baby blues also.

The exact cause of baby blues is not fully understood, but it is thought to be related to the changes in hormones that occur after giving birth. It may also be related to the physical and emotional demands of caring for a newborn, sleep deprivation, and other stresses.

What are the Symptoms?

The symptoms of the baby blues can include:

  1. Experiencing mood swings where you are feeling happy one moment and then tearful or irritable the next.
  2. Crying for no apparent reason or feeling like you’re on the verge of tears.
  3. Feeling anxious or nervous, with an increased sense of worry or fear.
  4. Feeling easily irritated or agitated, or having a short fuse.
  5. Finding it hard to fall asleep, stay asleep, or feeling restless or fatigued.
  6. Changes in appetite, losing or gaining weight, or having changes in appetite.
  7. Difficulty concentrating, feeling forgetful or spaced-out.
  8. Physical symptoms such as headaches or stomach problems.

    These symptoms are usually mild and tend to resolve on their own within two weeks to one month.

What is Post Partum Depression?

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a mood disorder that can affect new mothers after childbirth. It occurs in the  first year after giving birth and can range from mild to severe. PPD is estimated to affect around 10-15% of new mothers.

Symptoms of PPD can include:

  • Feelings of sadness
  • Anxiety and worry
  • Either Trouble Sleeping or Oversleeping
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Having trouble focusing and making decisions
  • Appetite Changes
  • Feeling worthless
  • Losing interest in things you enjoyed
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby

Who might get Postpartum Depression?

PPD can affect any new mother, regardless of their situation. However, there are some factors that may increase the risk of developing PPD, including:

  1. Previous history: Women who have experienced depression or anxiety, or who have experienced PPD in a previous pregnancy, are at an increased risk of developing PPD.
  2. Family History – If your mother suffered from PPD, you are more likely to experience PPD.
  3. Lack of family support can increase the likelihood of experiencing PPD.
  4. Genetics:  Researchers have found genetic markers that predict an increased risk of PPD.
  5. Stressful life events 
  6. Birth complications such as a difficult labor

It’s important to note that while these factors may increase the risk of developing PPD, not everyone who experiences them will develop PPD. Additionally, PPD can occur in women who do not have any of these risk factors.

What’s the difference between Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression?

Maternal baby blues is different from PPD, which is a more severe and long-lasting form of mood disorder that can occur after giving birth. While both baby blues and PPD can occur after childbirth, they are different conditions. Here are the things that make PPD different from the Baby Blues:

  1. Timing: Baby blues typically occur within the first few days to two weeks after giving birth, while PPD usually develops within the first few months after delivery, but can occur up to a year after.
  2. Duration and severity: Baby blues symptoms are usually mild, lasting no more than two weeks, while PPD symptoms are more severe, lasting longer than two weeks and may interfere with a mother’s ability to care for her baby and herself.
  3. Symptoms: Baby blues symptoms include mood changes and irritability, while PPD symptoms include persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, guilt, and worthlessness. PPD may also include physical symptoms like changes in appetite and sleep patterns, as well as thoughts of self-harm or harm to the baby.
  4. Treatment: Baby blues often don’t require treatment, while PPD typically requires treatment such as therapy, medication, or a combination of both.

If baby blues symptoms persist beyond two weeks or if they are severe enough to interfere with daily functioning, it’s possible that a woman may be experiencing PPD or another mood disorder and should seek professional help.

How to cope with Baby Blues

Here are some strategies that may help cope with the baby blues:

  1. Get enough rest: Lack of sleep can exacerbate feelings of sadness and anxiety. Try to nap when the baby naps and ask for help with nighttime feedings.
  2. Seek support: Reach out to friends and family members for emotional support, or consider joining a new mothers’ support group.
  3. Take care of your physical health: Eat a healthy diet, drink plenty of water, and engage in light exercise if your doctor approves.
  4. Take breaks: It’s okay to take some time for yourself to do something that makes you feel good, whether it’s taking a walk, reading a book, or watching a movie.
  5. Communicate with your partner: It’s important to communicate with your partner about how you’re feeling and ask for help when you need it.
  6. Be kind to yourself: Remember that the baby blues are a normal part of the postpartum period, and it’s okay to feel overwhelmed or emotional. Be gentle with yourself and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to do everything perfectly.

 Postpartum Depression Help in the Denver area.

Baby Blues are a common thing when you make your transition to life with a baby.  Thankfully they will usually disappear before your baby is one month old!    If you are still anxious or sad after one month then we are here to help.   We invite you to call us at 720-551-4553 for a free 20-minute phone consultation with a sex therapy specialist.  Click the link to learn more about our Therapy Services at Self Care Impact Counseling