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The Difference Between Postpartum Depression and the Baby Blues

You’ve waited with excitement for your baby to make their entrance into the world, but you find that your moods don’t reflect the much-anticipated event. And now you’re wondering whether your feelings are temporary or whether your altered moods will wreak havoc on your ability to care for your newborn.

Many people consider the baby blues and postpartum depression to be one in the same, but they are two very different conditions.

To help you determine whether you should seek help for your mental health, Dr. Fernando Otero and our compassionate team here at Women’s Clinic of the Rio Grande Valley pulled together the following information on distinguishing between the baby blues and postpartum depression.

Most women experience the baby blues

The first thing to understand about the baby blues is that 4 out of 5 women report a brief period after the birth of their newborns in which they experience:

If you consider that your life changed dramatically, from one moment to the next, it’s hardly surprising that you may need time to adjust. The stress and anxiety that come with caring for a newborn who needs constant attention is a lot to handle,and it’s perfectly natural for you to feel overwhelmed. 

Also consider that your hormones are fluctuating wildly as they transition from pregnancy mode to breastfeeding mode and beyond. These hormonal roller coaster rides can make even the most even-keeled among us experience wild swings in mood.

Lastly, you’re sleep-deprived, which can do a number on your mental and physical health.

In most cases, women experience the baby blues about 2-3 days after birth, and they usually dissipate after a week or two as you and your hormones adjust to life with a newborn.

Postpartum depression

While not as common as the baby blues, postpartum depression is more prevalent than you might think. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about 1 in 8 women experience symptoms of postpartum depression.

There are several key differences between the baby blues and postpartum depression, and the first is timing. The baby blues typically develop quickly and go away after two weeks. Women with postpartum depression can develop symptoms anytime during the first year after delivery, and these symptoms typically last for far longer than two weeks.

The primary symptoms of postpartum depression include feeling:

You may also experience changes in your appetite as well as sleep issues. In extreme cases, you may have suicidal thoughts, which is a clear sign that you need help.

Getting help for your postpartum depression

If you suspect that you’re experiencing far more than baby blues, we urge you to talk with us. Postpartum depression can be serious, and we want to do all that we can to help you find the joy in your new life with a baby on board.

After we sit down with you to review your health and your symptoms, we point you in the right direction so you can get the help you need.

To get started, please contact one of our offices in McAllen or Edinburg, Texas, to set up an appointment. Just phone us or request an appointment through online booking right now.

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