Postpartum Blues

Nov 30, 2023 | OB

Is it the blues…or depression.

Postpartum is an interesting time of life. For most women, it’s is a happy time. A moment that was anticipated for 9 months, maybe even more. A pregnancy and childbirth is filled with emotions and many of those emotions seem to happen all at once. It’s enough to make us feel unsteady and unsure of this uncharted territory.

There are some women who sail through pregnancy, birthing and postpartum with vigor and vitality. I don’t think this is the norm and it’s important to remember that we are each different. We each approach these reproductive years with different health deficiencies, different environmental factors and different stressors. Each of these factors will play a role in how we manage this new chapter of bringing a child into the world.

In this article, we will focus mainly on postpartum. There is always a lot of talk about the days and weeks following childbirth, but you can’t predict how you will manage when the time comes.

What is the difference between postpartum blues and post partum depression?

Let’s break it down.

Postpartum Blues:

  • Feeling sad or overly sensitive
  • Feelings of anxiety and restlessness
  • Impatient
  • Tearful and emotional
  • Mood changes without an obvious reason
  • Difficulty sleeping

These feelings tend to set in 3-5 days after you have given birth. This is a time when your hormones begin to fluctuate and can last up to 2 weeks, give or take.

Postpartum Depression:

  • Most of the symptoms above, only amplified. They tend to be more disruptive in your day.
  • Being overwhelmed. The simplest tasks become the most difficult
  • Having a short fuse
  • Postpartum depression can increase if you normally have depression or anxiety.
  • Finding less joy in the things you used to enjoy.
  • Increase anger and frustration
  • Avoiding people and places
  • Changes in appetite
  • Headaches and feeling run down

There are many more symptoms of postpartum depression but these are the most common. It’s important to talk to your family or those around you and let them know how you are feeling. It can happen that you think you are fine, but a spouse or family members can see you are off. Trust them.

If you are feeling any of these symptoms, it is important to get in to see one of our trusted providers. We can help sort out the symptoms and establish ways to get hormones regulated better. It isn’t always the best stance to ‘wait and see’ how things go. Quieting the chemistry goes a long way in helping you feel better.

Aside from getting quick medical intervention, it’s important to practice some simple self care techniques. Work on your sleep hygiene. Sleep when you can and if possible, get at least 8 hours of sleep at night. It may be necessary to supplement with a bottle through the night for a bit, in order to get your health back on track.

Step up your nutrition. Work on eating a balanced diet. It’s likely your iron is a little low and that can contribute to any sluggish feelings. A balanced diet is also key to regulating your hormones.

Finally, consider a support group for Postpartum health. Madison Women’s Clinic often offers group classes for women suffering with postpartum blues and depression. It is a great resource and support. You do not need to suffer in silence. In fact, suffering alone will only exacerbate the situation. Reach out, ask for help and check in as often as needed with your healthcare provider.

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