The Difference Between “Baby Blues” and Postpartum Depression
No matter how you delivered your baby — vaginal, natural, Cesarean, or VBAC — recovering after birth can be both physically and emotionally challenging. It’s normal to feel a mix of exhaustion, irritability, sadness, and anxiety during the first couple weeks after childbirth. But how do you know if you have a simple case of the “baby blues” or something more serious like postpartum depression?
Feeling the “Baby Blues”
After giving birth, your body and hormone levels change rapidly. Caring for your newborn can be overwhelming and leave you feeling any of the following symptoms:
- Crying for no reason
- Feelings of disappointment
The “baby blues” will usually go away soon after they start without treatment. If your symptoms feel more severe or you find it increasingly difficult to cope with daily tasks, you may have postpartum depression.
Symptoms of Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression is a moderate to severe form of depression following childbirth that can affect your ability to care for yourself and family. Mothers of lower socioeconomic status and women of color are more likely to experience postpartum mental illness — and less likely to get treatment for it. But it’s important to seek help when your mood impacts your daily life and your bond with your newborn.
The symptoms are more extreme than the “baby blues” and can include any of the following:
- Sadness and hopelessness
- Feeling overly anxious
- Poor concentration, confusion, or difficulty remembering details
- Appetite changes
- Resentment and extreme mood swings
- Uncontrolled crying
- Over-attentiveness or lack of interest in newborn
- Feelings of isolation and withdrawal from others
- A fear of harming the newborn or yourself
Due to the range of symptoms, only a healthcare provider can diagnose you with postpartum depression.
When to See a Doctor
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of postpartum depression, it is imperative that you see a healthcare provider right away. Schedule an appointment with your Baylor St. Luke's Medical Group OB/GYN to learn more about effective treatments for managing postpartum depression, such as NaProTECHNOLOGY™ offered at Caritas Women’s Care in Sugar Land.
If you’re expecting or have already welcomed your bundle of joy, we invite you to register for one of our free Pandemic Postpartum Virtual Support Groups offered by The Woodlands Hospital.
- Office on Women's Health | Postpartum depression
- CDC | Depression Among Women
- NCBI | How much does Low Socioeconomic Status Increase the Risk of Prenatal and Postpartum Depressive Symptoms in First Time Mothers?
- NCBI | Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Postpartum Depression Care Among Low-Income Women