Baby Blues or Postpartum Depression?

For many people, the line between the experience of Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression may be blurred. This is not because they are one in the same, but rather, there is a lack of education regarding the inherent differences between what may seem like similar symptom presentations. In fact, Postpartum Depression is just one subset of a greater category of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorder (PMAD). Postpartum Depression appears to be a buzzword in today’s culture but it leaves out the anxiety, panic, and potential psychosis that can also be triggered during the pregnancy and after childbirth.

Symptoms of the Baby Blues:baby blues or postpartum depression

  • Anxiety
  • Lack of focus/concentration
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Change in sleeping habits
  • Frequent crying
  • Shifts in mood

Although many of the symptoms are the same between the Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression, the biggest difference lies in the duration. Baby Blues are a normal occurrence due to the fluctuations the mother’s hormones, may appear in the first week postpartum, and last at maximum of 1-3 weeks before dissipating. Postpartum Depression will last longer and can be triggered anytime within the first year of parenting.

Symptoms of Postpartum Depression:

Excessive worry

  • Guilt/Shame
  • Loss of interest in former pleasurable activities
  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Irritability/Agitation
  • Sadness
  • Discomfort or fear around baby
  • Anxiety/Panic
  • Inability to bond with baby
  • Feeling poor about ability to parent and be a mother

Risk factors that can influence Postpartum Depression:

  • History of personal or familial Postpartum Depression and/or other mental illness
  • Life changes or stressors
  • Lack of support
  • Whether or not the pregnancy was planned
  • Infertility or previous complications with pregnancy
  • Perfectionistic tendencies
  • Unrealistic expectations of parenting or pregnancy

Treatment exists for those experiencing Postpartum Depression and can be beneficial to ensure the health and well-being of both mother and baby. If you or someone you know is unsure if her experience is Postpartum Depression or the baby blues, contact Katie Kmiecik, MA, LCPC or any other PMAD Specialist at Postpartum Wellness Center for more information www.postpartumwellnesscenter.com.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

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