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Mood Changes After Baby

By Lafayette General Medical Center
October 2, 2019

Bringing your baby home from the hospital is both an exciting and overwhelming time, whether it’s your first or fourth child. It can trigger a range of emotions, from excitement and joy to fear and anxiety. It can also result in something you might not expect -- depression. Most women (one in five, in fact) experience postpartum "baby blues" after childbirth beginning the first two or three days after delivery and may last up to two weeks.

What is normal to experience?

  • Exhaustion
  • Feeling unsure
  • Worrying about SIDS
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Mood swings
  • Some anxiety
  • Reduced concentration 

But some new moms experience a more severe, long-lasting form of depression known as postpartum depression. Postpartum depression isn't a character flaw or a weakness. Sometimes it's simply a complication of giving birth. If you have postpartum depression, prompt treatment can help you manage your symptoms and help you bond with your baby. Postpartum depression may be mistaken for baby blues at first — but the signs and symptoms are more intense and last longer, and may eventually interfere with your ability to care for your baby and handle other daily tasks. Symptoms usually develop within the first few weeks after giving birth. 

Postpartum depression can include the following:

  • Inability to sleep (Insomnia) or sleeping too much
  • Constantly worried that something bad is going to happen to the baby
  • Daily crying spells that last longer than the first few weeks postpartum
  • Anger or irritability
  • Feeling like you’re “going crazy” or just not feeling right
  • Having thoughts that scare you
  • Excessive crying
  • Feeling panicky or anxious
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Feeling like your baby would be better off without you
  • Withdrawing from family and friends

If you're feeling depressed after your baby's birth, you may be reluctant or embarrassed to admit it. But if you experience any symptoms of postpartum baby blues or postpartum depression, call your doctor and schedule an appointment.