Your body goes through many hormonal changes after you give birth. Some women experience the “baby blues,” which are weepy, sad feelings that usually start on the second or third day after birth and last around 10 days. About 8 out of 10 new mothers experience the baby blues.
In some women, hormonal changes can lead to a more severe form of the baby blues called postpartum depression. Postpartum depression may start as early as the second or third day after birth or take several weeks to a year to develop. About 1 out of 10 new mothers develop postpartum depression.
In rare instances, some women develop a severe form of postpartum depression called postpartum psychosis. Symptoms may appear as early as the first 48 to 72 hours after birth or within the first two weeks after birth. Postpartum psychosis is an emergency and requires immediate help.
Baby Blues Symptoms
- Anxiety (nervousness, worry)
- Crying spells
- Fear of being alone
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Lack of confidence in mothering ability
- Mood swings
Postpartum Depression Symptoms
- Dislike or fear of touching the baby
- Extreme nervousness
- Feelings of hopelessness or emptiness
- Frightening thoughts about the baby
- Sleep all day or not able to sleep at all
- Loss of appetite
- No energy
Postpartum Psychosis Symptoms
- Disorganized behavior
- Irrational false beliefs (delusions)
- Withdrawal from family members
- Suicidal thoughts
- Thoughts of harming the baby
Many new mothers who experience postpartum depression delay calling the doctor because they feel guilty or don’t want to be seen as “crazy.” We know it can be difficult asking for help, but reaching out for support can empower you and your family. Call your doctor, go to the nearest hospital emergency room or call The Phone (crisis line) at 225-924-3900 immediately if you experience any of the symptoms of postpartum depression or psychosis. For more information about support groups and other resources, call Social Services at 225-924-8456.