‘Baby blues’ can affect 4 out of 5 women after they give birth and is a term used to describe mild mood changes and the feelings of exhaustion, anxiety and unhappiness that can occur in the first 2 weeks after having a baby. Because it’s so tiring looking after a baby 24 hours a day, it’s entirely normal to feel shattered and a little flat after giving birth!. This usually happens within the first week and is likely due to the rapid change in hormones and other biochemicals that occur once pregnancy has finished. Symptoms include low mood, feeling irritable and on edge, and feeling emotional or tearful for no obvious reason.
Symptoms should only last a few days but if they persist for more than 2 weeks or are accompanied by more severe symptoms, it could be a sign of postnatal depression, postpartum psychosis or postnatal post-traumatic stress disorder and you should speak to your doctor or health visitor straight away. This is different to the baby blues and a woman with postpartum depression will not get better until she receives treatment.
Emotional signs of postnatal depression may include no longer enjoying things that used to give you pleasure, feelings of hopelessness or not being able to cope, not being able to stop crying, memory loss or being unable to concentrate and excessive anxiety about your baby.
It doesn’t affect every mum but it is a normal part of the postpartum experience. There is not much you can do to avoid experiencing baby blues, but rest assured that for most it improves within a week or two without any intervention.
There is a lot to adjust to in those first few weeks after giving birth, so be kind to yourself. It’s important to look after yourself as much as possible by ensuring you have a calm, supportive, caring environment. Drinking plenty of fluid, sleeping when your baby sleeps and eating well-balanced nutritious foods is essential to your overall recovery as is getting your partner to share as much of the workload as possible
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