Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression and Mood Disorders
- Depression that is identified as postpartum depression can begin during pregnancy, right after the birth or anytime in the first year.
- Postpartum depression can occur with the first, second or other subsequent pregnancies and can also occur with adopted children.
- Postpartum depression can result from hormonal imbalance because of pregnancy, delivery of a baby or a miscarriage.
The “baby blues” affect up to four out of every five women after childbirth. Beginning around the second or third day after birth, a woman may feel sad, weepy, anxious and moody. These feelings are time limited and generally last a few hours to a week and subside without the need for treatment.
On the other hand, postpartum mood disorders and depression is marked by more intense feelings of sadness, anxiety and despair. These feelings can affect a mother’s ability to care for herself and her new baby. One in five women who have a baby may develop this condition. If not recognized and treated, postpartum depression may become worse or last longer than necessary.
The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale may help you. Speak with your health care provider if you have any questions about how you are feeling after the birth of your baby or if your score on the Edinburgh Screen score indicates concern
In rare situations, a more severe condition called postpartum psychosis can develop during the first weeks after delivery. This condition requires immediate medical attention.