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Baby Blues or Postpartum Depression?

Just had a baby and not feeling like yourself?  Are you exhausted, emotional, and crying a lot?   Do you find motherhood overwhelming?  You may be experiencing what is commonly known as “the baby blues”.  The baby blues affect 60-80% of new moms, and are due to hormonal changes in the body after childbirth.  Not sure if what you’re experiencing are the baby blues or postpartum depression?  Here’s a quick guide to check your symptoms:

Baby Blues Symptoms

The baby blues occur shortly after giving birth and last up to two weeks.  According to the Mayo Clinic, baby blues symptoms may include the following:

  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Irritability
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Crying
  • Reduced concentration
  • Appetite problems
  • Trouble sleeping

Postpartum Depression

The Mayo Clinic lists the following as symptoms of postpartum depression:

  • Depressed mood or severe mood swings
  • Excessive crying
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Loss of appetite or eating much more than usual
  • Inability to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much
  • Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy
  • Reduced interest and pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
  • Intense irritability and anger
  • Fear that you're not a good mother
  • Hopelessness
  • Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt or inadequacy
  • Diminished ability to think clearly, concentrate or make decisions
  • Restlessness
  • Severe anxiety and panic attacks
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

Key Points to Remember:

  • Baby blues symptoms typically present as more mild, occur shortly after childbirth, and only last for two weeks
  • Postpartum depression symptoms can present up to a year after birth, are much more severe, and last longer
  • Postpartum depression symptoms can present differently in each person
  • If you notice any of these symptoms and it has been longer than two weeks, don’t hesitate to seek help
  • These symptoms are temporary, they are not your fault, and with help, you will get better


**Postpartum Support International is a wonderful resource for perinatal mood and anxiety disorders**