Giving birth to new life is a special experience for every woman. The entire process starting from pregnancy to giving birth to a child is unique to women. Pregnancy introduces many hormonal changes in the body, physical as well as mental, such as depression, stress, anxiety, mood swings, eating disorders and many others. Similarly, even post childbirth, a woman may experience symptoms such as mood swings and depression a condition commonly known as postpartum depression.
“Baby blues” is the most common form of depression experienced by women after the birth of a child with nearly 70-80 percent of new mothers experiencing such feelings post-pregnancy. It is not a very severe condition. Baby blues generally occur within four to five days after the birth of the child, however, its occurrence varies depending upon how smooth the pregnancy and birth was.
Baby blues is often characterized by struggling with feelings of sadness despite the joy, the birth of a baby brings. Most of the women do not talk about it though and keep it to themselves, which further aggravates the depressive thoughts and unwanted fears. However, it is imperative that new mothers talk about these emotions, changes and the challenges that they are facing.
Causes of baby blues
Despite several studies, the exact cause of baby blues is still not known. However, experts often link the depression with hormonal changes caused by pregnancy and the birth of a child. According to experts, the hormonal changes further trigger chemical changes in the brain which causes depression.
According to studies, during pregnancy, the level of the hormones- estrogen and progesterone increase and are at the highest, but after the birth of the child it suddenly drops. This neurobiological process triggers baby blues.
Additionally, factors such as disturbed sleep, disruption of the normal routine that was followed prior to the birth of the baby, exhaustion due to childbirth, emotions that one experiences after childbirth, breastfeeding and things like a family history of depression, also play a role in causing this depression. Baby blues can occur within few minutes after giving birth and can last up to the second week of the postpartum period.
Symptoms of baby blues
Baby blues are primarily characterized by feelings of sadness. Instead of celebrating the birth of the new child and spending joyous moments with family and friends, the woman feels like crying, weeping, is sad, experiences mood instability, lack of concentration and/or feelings of dependency.
Difference between baby blues and postpartum depression
A majority of women experience baby blues after giving birth to a child, as per research, and nearly 10-20 percent of the women slip into postpartum depression. The condition is much severe than baby blues and hence should be duly addressed with proper medical care. Notably, while baby blues is specific to new mothers, postpartum depression can also occur in men (new fathers).
Another major difference is that while baby blues last till 14 days after giving birth to a child, postpartum depression often extends from few weeks to a year, depending upon how soon medical help is sought. Symptoms of postpartum depression are similar to that of baby blues, only more severe and can trigger suicidal thoughts in the patient.
Fight the blues–seek medical help
It is important to understand that feeling sad or depressed despite giving birth to a child, an experience most cherish, is normal. Talking about such feelings openly can help in fighting “baby blues.” However, if one feels that he or she is slipping into depression it could be postpartum depression, in that case, it is important to seek medical help, as the condition can disrupt one’s day-to-day life, and can even lead to suicide.
If you or your loved one is suffering from postpartum depression or depression of any kind, contact the Depression Treatment Helpline to get information about various rehab centers for depression in the U.S. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-619-7729 or chat online with our representatives to know which are the best depression help centers.