After-Pregnancy Blues: Cause for Concern?

parents-with-newborn

Up to 80 percent of all new moms feel sad, anxious, crabby or just plain tired after giving birth. It’s no wonder so many new mothers get the “baby blues.” Even if delivery went well and their newborn is adorable, mothers are bound to be short on sleep and long on responsibilities.

The baby blues typically begin three to four days after delivery. They tend to disappear by the 10th day.

Knowing When It’s Postpartum Depression

If a new mother’s blues persist or worsen, she may have a serious condition called postpartum depression (PPD). The same may be true if she begins to suffer several weeks or months after childbirth.

The following signs, if present beyond the first few weeks after childbirth, may indicate PPD:

  • Depressed mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in life
  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Intense fatigue
  • Decreased energy and motivation
  • Unexplained difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Intense worry about the baby or lack of interest in the baby
  • Extreme indecisiveness
  • Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness or guilt
  • Agitation, irritability or anxiety
  • Thoughts about hurting oneself or the baby

PPD affects about 15 percent of childbearing women. It can make women miserable and undermine the confidence they need to care for their baby. Untreated, PPD could even interfere with the baby’s development.

What to Do

If you believe you are suffering from PPD, see your doctor immediately. Your doctor can determine whether symptoms are springing from another medical condition. Anemia, for example, can cause extreme feelings of fatigue. Thyroid disorders also can cause symptoms similar to PPD.

Women who have thoughts of harming themselves, their babies or others need to call 911 immediately.

Any new mother, especially a first-timer, can get PPD. The exact cause of this disorder is unknown. But a woman’s medical history and current circumstances can influence her odds. λ

You Can Find Support at Lutheran

Lutheran Medical Center is here to support you before, during and after your baby comes. We have several support groups for new moms. If you are experiencing postpartum blues or depression, please see your health care provider. Other resources are available at postpartum.net/Colorado.

Breast-feeding Support Group
Caring for a newborn is challenging! Our Breast-feeding Support Group provides an opportunity to get your questions answered, and to receive valuable information about breast-feeding or caring for your baby. The group meets every Wednesday, 9–10:30 a.m., and Friday, 2–3 p.m. No registration is necessary. 

Connecting Mamas
Join other mothers and their infants at our weekly new moms' group with new, relevant topics each week. The group is facilitated by a registered nurse, specializing in the role of the new mother, and meets every Wednesday, 10:30–11:30 a.m.

Parenting and Baby Feeding Group
At this welcoming, nonjudgmental, group you will build a unique support system as you start your journey into parenthood. All babies and parents are welcome. Each week features a couple’s therapist. The group meets every Monday, 4–5:15 p.m., at Lutheran Medical Center’s Aspen Classroom.

For more information about any of these programs, please call 303-425-2229 or email women.secretary@sclhs.net.