Baby blues and postpartum depression


Laura writes about the negative influence that modern “culture of death” has on those who bring life.

The baby blues is a condition which affects between 50 – 80% of new moms and symptoms usually include a general feeling of being down, disinterested and anxious. This is completely normal. However, when this occurs for longer than a few days, you may be suffering from postpartum depression and later even postpartum major depression, which needs close monitoring due to its severity.

The difference between the baby blues and depression

The baby blues is incredibly common and usually only last up to four days after the new mother has given birth. The signs that you may be suffering from this mimic other types of depression and can include a feeling of helplessness, irritability and trouble sleeping. If this occurs for longer than a week, your doctor, who should be monitoring you carefully, may diagnose you with postpartum depression. Around 20% of mothers who suffer from the baby blues go on to be diagnosed with this type of depression. This risk is particularly high in teenage mothers as they may feel more alone due to their young age; their friends are at school and going to parties, while they’re home with a new born baby.

Postpartum depression may deteriorate further and become postpartum major depression if left untreated. This can be incredibly serious as the individual may start to feel worthless and even suicidal. It’s therefore imperative that, if a new mom has been suffering from the symptoms of postpartum depression for more than two weeks, she’s encouraged to seek help.

Treatment for postpartum depression

Once diagnosed, your doctor may prescribe you antidepressants and ask you to see a therapist. The psychotherapy usually involves talking through and rationalizing feelings in order to deal with them effectively in the future. If the therapist or doctor believes the mother to be a danger to herself or the baby, they will be hospitalized for a period of time until their health professional feels they are well enough to return home.

Antidepressants can help control the chemical imbalance in the individual’s brain. These tend to be SSRIs – or serotonin reuptake inhibitors – or tricyclic antidepressants. The type of drug is usually dependent on whether the mother is breast feeding, however, most are completely safe, although not without side effects. In extreme cases, an antipsychotic may be prescribed.

If the depression goes untreated, it can have a negative effect on the child as the mother’s behavior can impact on theirs. If you’re nervous about receiving treatment, such as therapy, you can get someone you trust to attend with you. If your partner attends with you, it can help to reassure you that you’ve done nothing wrong and that you don’t need to feel guilty. Remember, there is no shame in seeking help and bettering your health for the sake of you and your baby.

Causes of postpartum depression

It’s important to remember if you’re suffering from postpartum depression that it isn’t your fault. It’s thought to be caused by a chemical imbalance in your brain brought on by the racing hormones that come with being pregnant and giving birth. However, there may be underlying health issues that need to be addressed, such as a thyroid problem, so your doctor may want to carry out some tests before diagnosing you. Also, if depression runs in your family, this may leave you at higher risk than other new moms. If you’ve had depression before, you’re more likely to develop it after having a baby; in fact, you’re 15% more likely than moms who’ve never suffered from it. If you’ve had depression during pregnancy, your doctor will be keeping an especially close eye on your mental health after giving birth.

Laura Monk is a freelance writer with a background in mental health.

Source: Living with Postpartum Depression by