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Many women get postpartum blues, also called the "baby blues," during the first few days after childbirth. They may lose sleep, feel irritable, cry easily, and feel happy one minute and sad the next. Hormone changes are one cause of these emotional changes. Also, the demands of a new baby, coupled with visits from relatives or other family needs, add to a mother's stress. The "baby blues" usually peak around the fourth day and then ease up in less than 2 weeks.
Symptoms of the baby
In some women, sometime in the first 3 months after delivery, the baby blues become a more serious condition
called postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression affects up to 15 out of 100 women.1 If your moodiness or anxiety lasts for more than 2 weeks, or if you feel like life isn't worth living, you may have postpartum depression. For more information, see the topic Postpartum Depression.
Although you can't prevent the postpartum hormone changes that cause the baby blues, you can take steps to prevent ongoing postpartum depression (PPD).
To minimize the effects of postpartum hormonal changes and stress, keep your body and mind strong.
Cunningham FG, et al. (2010). Neurological and
psychiatric disorders. In Williams Obstetrics, 23rd ed.,
pp. 1164–1184. New York: McGraw-Hill.
March 15, 2012
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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