Is postpartum depression the same as the baby blues?

Emotions come to the surface when it comes to the birth of a baby, which can range from excitement and joy to fear and anxiety. However, it can also cause postpartum blues and depression, which is worth noting, which are not the same.

Mood changes, crying episodes, anxiety and difficulty sleeping are some of the emotions that a woman can experience after the birth of her baby, what is known as postpartum blues or the so-called “baby blues”, which according to with the Mayo Clinicthat It usually begins within the first two to three days after delivery, and can last up to two weeks.

However, there are other women who may suffer from these postpartum symptoms more intensely and last up to a year later, known as postpartum depression, to such a degree that they may eventually interfere with their ability to care for their baby and manage their baby. other daily tasks.

According to said entity dedicated to the research, prevention and treatment of diseases, it is sometimes called perinatal depression because it can begin during pregnancy and continue until the birth of the baby. Rarely, an extreme mood disorder called postpartum psychosis may also develop after childbirth.

Postpartum depression is not a character flaw or weakness. Sometimes it is simply a complication resulting from childbirth.. For a woman suffering from postpartum depression, immediate treatment can help her control her symptoms and create a bond with her baby.


The symptoms of postpartum depression vary and can range in intensity from mild to severe.

Symptoms of postpartum blues

Symptoms of the baby blues, which last only a few days or one to two weeks after the baby is born, may include:

  • Humor changes
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Irritability
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Crying
  • poor concentration
  • Problems with appetite
  • Sleep disorders

Symptoms of postpartum depression

At first, baby blues may be confused with postpartum depression, but the symptoms of the latter are more intense and last longer. Finally, they can interfere with your ability to care for your baby and perform other daily tasks. Symptoms generally appear in the first weeks after childbirth. However, they can start later (during pregnancy) or up to six months after giving birth.

Symptoms of postpartum depression may include the following:

  • Depressed mood or severe mood swings
  • cry too much
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Get away from your family and friends
  • Losing your appetite or eating much more than usual
  • Inability to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much
  • Terrible fatigue or lack of energy
  • Less interest and enthusiasm in activities you used to enjoy
  • Intense irritability and anger
  • Fear of not being a good mother
  • hopelessness
  • Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt, or inadequacy
  • Less ability to think clearly, concentrate, or make decisions
  • Unrest
  • Intense anxiety and panic attacks
  • Thoughts about hurting yourself or your baby
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

If left untreated, postpartum depression can last many months or even longer.

Postpartum psychosis

In the case of postpartum psychosis, a rare condition that usually appears in the first week after giving birth, the symptoms are severe. Symptoms may include:

  • Feeling of confusion and disorientation
  • Obsessive thoughts about your baby
  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • Sleeping problems
  • Too much energy and discomfort
  • Paranoia
  • Attempts to hurt yourself or your baby

Postpartum psychosis can cause life-threatening thoughts or behaviors and requires immediate treatment.

When should you consult a doctor

If you feel depressed after the birth of your baby, you may be reluctant to admit it or feel ashamed of it. However, if you have any symptoms of postpartum blues or depression, call your primary healthcare provider, OB/GYN, and make an appointment. If you have symptoms that indicate you may have postpartum psychosis, seek help immediately.

It is important to call your healthcare provider as soon as possible if your depression symptoms have these characteristics:

  • They do not disappear after two weeks.
  • They are getting worse.
  • They make it difficult for you to care for your baby.
  • They make it difficult for you to complete daily tasks.
  • They include thoughts about harming yourself or your baby.

If you have suicidal thoughts

If, at any time, you have thoughts about harming yourself or your baby, immediately ask your partner or loved ones for help in caring for the baby. Call 911 or your local emergency assistance number for help.

Also, consider these options if you are having suicidal thoughts:

Call to the PAS linewhich operates seven days a day, 24 hours a day, 1-800-981-0023. It has highly trained personnel in human behavior who can individualize each case, address the patient’s needs and, subsequently, channel follow-up, not only to the patient but to their entire environment.

  • Call to the PAS Linewhich operates seven days a day, 24 hours a day, 1-800-981-0023. It has highly trained personnel in human behavior who can individualize each case, address the patient’s needs and, subsequently, channel follow-up, not only to the patient but to their entire environment.
  • Seek help from a healthcare provider.
  • Call a mental health professional.
  • Reach out to a close friend or loved one.
  • Contact a pastor, spiritual leader, or another person in your faith community.

Help a friend or loved one

People with depression may not recognize or admit that they are depressed. They may not know what the signs and symptoms of depression are. If you suspect that a friend or loved one has postpartum depression or is developing postpartum psychosis, help them seek medical attention immediately. Don’t wait and hope it gets better.


There is no specific cause of postpartum depression, but genetics, physical changes, and emotional problems can contribute.

  • Genetics. Studies show that having a family history of postpartum depression, especially if it was severe, increases your risk of developing it.
  • Physical changes. After labor, a significant decrease in hormone levels (estrogen and progesterone) in the body can contribute to postpartum depression. Other hormones produced by the thyroid gland can also drop sharply, which can make you feel tired, lazy, and depressed.
  • Emotional problems. When you’re sleep-deprived and overwhelmed, you may have trouble handling even minor problems. You may be anxious about your ability to care for a newborn. You may feel less attractive, have difficulties with your sense of identity, or feel like you have lost control of your life. Any of these problems can contribute to postpartum depression.

Risk factor’s

Postpartum depression can affect any new mother and can occur after the birth of any baby, not just the first. However, your risk increases if the following occurs:

  • You have a history of depression, either during pregnancy or at other times.
  • You have bipolar disorder.
  • You had postpartum depression after a previous pregnancy.
  • You have family members who had depression or other mood disorders.
  • You experienced stressful events in the past year, such as pregnancy complications, an illness, or losing a job.
  • Your baby has health problems or other special needs.
  • You had twins, triplets, or another multiple pregnancy.
  • You have difficulty breastfeeding.
  • You have a relationship problem with your spouse or partner.
  • You don’t have a good support network.
  • You have financial problems.
  • The pregnancy was neither planned nor desired.


If left untreated, postpartum depression can affect the bond between mother and child and cause family problems.

  • In the mother. Untreated postpartum depression can last a few months or longer and sometimes develops into an ongoing depressive disorder. The mother may stop breastfeeding, have problems bonding with and caring for the baby, and be at increased risk of suicide. Even when treated, postpartum depression increases a woman’s risk of future episodes of major depression.
  • In the other parent. Postpartum depression can have a domino effect and cause emotional stress on everyone close to a newborn baby. When the mother is depressed, the baby’s other parent’s risk of depression may also increase. Additionally, the other parent may already be at higher risk for depression, regardless of whether her partner is depressed or not.
  • In the kids. Children of mothers who suffer from postpartum depression and do not receive treatment are more likely to have emotional or behavioral problems, such as difficulties sleeping or eating, excessive crying, and delays in language development.


If you have a history of depression, especially postpartum depression, tell your doctor if you are planning to become pregnant or as soon as you find out you are pregnant.

  • During pregnancy, Your healthcare provider may monitor you closely for symptoms of depression. You may need to complete a questionnaire to screen for depression during pregnancy and after childbirth. Sometimes mild depression can be treated with support groups, counseling, or other types of therapy. At other times, they may recommend taking antidepressants, even during pregnancy.
  • After your child is born, Your healthcare provider may recommend early postpartum checkups to look for symptoms of postpartum depression. The sooner they are detected, the sooner you can start treatment. If you have a history of postpartum depression, your healthcare provider may recommend treatment with antidepressants or talk therapy immediately after delivery. Most antidepressants are safe to take while breastfeeding.
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