by Dr. Devin Shoquist

Q: What is the difference between “Baby Blues” and Post-Partum Depression?

A: The time around the delivery of a baby can be a very exciting yet emotional time in a woman’s life. This is particularly true in the days and weeks that follow the birth of the baby.

Baby Blues or Postpartum Blues are terms used to describe the feelings a woman may have in the days right after delivery. The feelings usually consist of feeling overwhelmed, tearful / “weepy”, and a strong need for help and comfort. These symptoms are most likely due to the huge hormonal, physical, and personal changes that are happening for the mother in the first 2-7 days following the baby’s arrival. These symptoms usually go away with good family support and reassurance, but occasionally transition into a more serious condition.

Postpartum Depression is a state of depressed mood, sadness, negative thinking, poor motivation, decreased ability or desire to care for or bond with the baby, and even suicidal thoughts or fear of harming the baby. These symptoms will often start 2-4 weeks after delivery, and do not respond to reassurance by loved ones. Difficulty sleeping, poor appetite, and poor energy are also usually part of the picture, but harder to sort out from the normal response to the demands of having a new infant in the home!

If you or someone you love shows signs or symptoms of post-partum depression, it is recommended that you see a doctor for evaluation and appropriate treatment before it becomes a significant problem.

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