Many women have the baby blues after childbirth. If you have the baby blues, you may have mood swings, feel sad, anxious or overwhelmed, have crying spells, lose your appetite, or have trouble sleeping. The baby blues most often go away within a few days or a week. The symptoms are not severe and do not need treatment.
The symptoms of postpartum depression last longer and are more severe. You may also feel hopeless and worthless, and lose interest in the baby. You may have thoughts of hurting yourself or the baby. Very rarely, new mothers develop something even more serious. They may have hallucinations or try to hurt themselves or the baby. They need to get treatment right away, often in the hospital.
Postpartum depression can begin anytime within the first year after childbirth. The cause is not known. Hormonal and physical changes after birth and the stress of caring for a new baby may play a role. Women who have had depression are at higher risk.
If you think you have postpartum depression, tell your health care provider. Medicines, including antidepressants and talk therapy can help you get well.
Dept. of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health
- Depression During and After Pregnancy (Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health) Available in Spanish
- Postpartum Depression (American Academy of Family Physicians) Available in Spanish
- Postpartum Depression (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) - PDF
- Postpartum Depression (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Postpartum Depression (Nemours Foundation)
- Postpartum Depression Facts (National Institute of Mental Health)
- For Pregnant Military Wives, Risks Rise If Partner Deployed (08/06/2015, HealthDay)
Treatments and Therapies
- Depression Is Treatable, But You Need to Seek Help (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- MedlinePlus: Antidepressants (National Library of Medicine) Available in Spanish
- Psychotherapies (National Institute of Mental Health)
- Tips for Postpartum Dads and Partners (Postpartum Support International)
- Postpartum Period: Emotions (March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation)
Statistics and Research
- Not Just the Baby Blues: Screening Can Help Address Postpartum Depression (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Depression, Postpartum (National Institutes of Health)