“Baby Blues” or Postpartum Depression?

"Baby Blues" or Postpartum Depression?

You’re tired. You’re cranky. You’re in good company. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 80% of mothers experience transient, stress-related changes to their physical and emotional well-being shortly after bringing their newest family member home. Affectionately named the “baby blues,” these changes are relatively mild and go away on their own within a week or two.

However, for 10-15% mothers, these changes are moderate to severe, do not go away on their own and may last for months or even worsen over time. Mothers experiencing postpartum depression struggle with overwhelming sadness, worry and exhaustion that interfere with their ability to care for themselves and their newborns.

Unlike the “baby blues,” postpartum depression does not just go away on its own. Mothers experiencing postpartum depression are likely to benefit from a combination of counseling (i.e. “talk therapy”) and antidepressant medication. There are even medications that are safe for use during breastfeeding.

If you have any of the following symptoms after having a baby, it may be time to talk to your health care provider about your treatment options:

  • Feeling sad, hopeless and overwhelmed
  • Crying more often than usual or for no apparent reason
  • Excessive worry, nervousness or anxiety
  • Feeling moody, irritable or restless
  • Difficulty falling asleep or staying awake
  • Eating too little or too much
  • Changes in thinking, concentration or memory
  • Unexplained aches and pains, including headaches, stomach problems and muscle tension
  • Withdrawing from friends, family and romantic partner
  • Having trouble bonding with baby
  • Doubting ability to care for baby
  • Thinking about harming self or baby

Your baby needs you. Take care of your baby by taking care of yourself. To schedule a postpartum depression screening, call Marshall Obstetrics & Gynecology at 304-691-1400.


Jennifer Mills Price, PsyD

Dr. Mills Price is a psychologist at Marshall Health and serves as an assistant professor at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.