About 80 percent of women feel down for the first several weeks after delivery. Although no one knows exactly why this happens, we do know it's normal and usually fades with time.
There's a multitude of reasons that could contribute to the baby blues.
- Changes in hormone levels after delivery (this is perhaps the biggest culprit)
- Physical discomforts
- Lack of sleep
- Feeling unattractive
- Lack of emotional support
Fortunately, there are also ways to help deal with the blues.
- Rest and relax
- Talk to family, friends
- Be open about how you're feeling
- Take time for yourself
- Read a book
- Watch a movie
- Take a walk
- Get out of the house every day
- Talk to other mothers
- Pamper yourself
Postpartum blues usually come several days after delivery and can last for several weeks. Try not to allow yourself to feel guilty for feeling blue. It's OK. This is something many women face, and it is not a permanent condition.
Although, if after several weeks, you don't begin to feel better, talk to your doctor. You could be suffering from a more serious condition called postpartum depression, which is characterized by feelings of severe anxiety, despair, and hopelessness. Other signs of postpartum depression include eating more or less than normal, not being able to sleep, strong feelings of depression or anger 1-2 months after birth, thoughts of harming yourself or the baby, panic attacks, intense concern, lack of interest.
Some women are more prone to get postpartum depression:
- History of depression
- Lack of support
- Marital dissatisfaction
- Unplanned pregnancy
- Anxiety before birth
If you're experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression several weeks after birth, contact your doctor.
Stone, Joanne; Eddleman, Keith; Duenwald, Mary. “Pregnancy for Dummies.” Wiley Publishing. 2004. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. “Your Pregnancy and Birth.” Meredith Books. 2005.