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Understanding Baby Blues (Part 1 of 2)

Do you feel easily irritated, angered, and stressed after giving birth? These feelings are normal for many new mothers.

  • Published on: 15 Apr 2021
  • 5 min read
Understanding Baby Blues (Part 1 of 2)

Do you feel easily irritated, angered, and stressed after giving birth? These feelings are normal for many new mothers.

It’s typical for moms to experience mood swings during the first few days after delivery. The burst of emotions and the sudden feeling of sadness and joy from time to time is considered the lighter version of Post-Partum Depression (PPD). This condition is called Baby Blues, Postnatal or Postpartum Blues.

This article will uncover what baby blues are, how it differs from PPD, discuss its causes, and identify what factors increase the chance of experiencing it. In part two, we will also cover how to identify symptoms, employ preventative measures, and how to engage in treatment.

What are Baby Blues?

baby blues

Baby Blues (BB) is often associated with the anxiety caused by a woman's transition to motherhood. The inevitable changes in the body, coupled with the challenges of caring for the baby, are among the causes that can trigger BB.

At present, roughly 70 to 80% of new mothers experience Baby Blues shortly after giving birth. It means about 4 in 5 women suffer from anxiety, stress, and even loneliness. You may feel BB the day after you had your baby, and it can last up to two (2) weeks. The symptoms will occur from a higher intensity during the first days and lessen as the days pass. It may disappear fourteen (14) days from delivery.

If the symptoms persist and become severe, it may develop into a more dangerous condition called Post-Partum Depression.

Pro-longed Baby Blues that lasts for more than two (2) weeks is a sign of Post-Partum Depression. Spouses and family members must be aware of this. Post-Partum Depression does not only affect the mother but her relationship with the baby as well.

Studies show that when the labor in giving birth is difficult, the mother will feel more pressured and tired due to labor exhaustion and worries concerning breastfeeding. Women may become anxious and irritable these days due to hormonal changes as well.

How Do Baby Blues Differ from Post-Partum Depression?

mother and infant

Baby Blues lasts for a couple of days from birth. You may witness your improvement as you cope with the changes in your new life as a mom. You will slowly bid goodbye to your gloomy days and regain your strength.

Ideally, you will start feeling better in two (2) weeks. If your BB symptoms ensue for a couple of weeks or months, then you are probably dealing with something more serious, Post-Partum Depression. The severity of symptoms can also indicate PPD. If this happens, you will need to consult your doctor for a guided treatment.

Some of the symptoms of PPD are the same as having BB, like crying without reason, getting exhausted, having mood swings, or emotional rollercoasters. However, PPD can lead to anxiety attacks and lack of sleep due to despair. You may also withdraw from your partner or your baby when things are beyond control. The worst case of PPD can even lead to having suicidal thoughts.

PPD can damage the relationship between a mother and her baby. The breastfeeding journey can be interrupted because mothers who suffer from PPD can show love and affection at one time and then withdraw or interact less with their child at some other time.

Often, women in abusive relationships, financially instability, or those who lack the support of loved ones suffer from PPD.

Professional help is necessary when dealing with PPD. Your healthcare provider can help you adjust to motherhood by recommending medications or hormone therapy whenever safe and proper. A professional therapist can assist in settling other issues your healthcare provider cannot.

Depression can significantly affect your family life. So if you are experiencing it, it’s okay to feel embarrassed or reluctant to ask for help, but you can save you and your family by getting immediate treatment.

What Can Cause Baby Blues?

 

understanding baby blues

To this day, it remains uncertain as to what can ultimately cause Baby Blues. Some researchers pointed out that there is no single cause. The surrounding circumstances of birth altogether can attribute to this condition. What appears to be consistent is the effect of hormonal changes in women. The fluctuation affects both the physical and emotional state of moms.

Scientifically, when the body tries to recover from giving birth and adjusts itself to care for the baby, there is hormonal change. During this period, the body works to provide milk for the baby while healing the uterus as it shrinks back to its normal size. Our busy body can affect the state of mind that subconsciously becomes preoccupied too.

While we are healing inside, the physical body adapts to the new routine for the baby outside. Moms get exhausted due to interrupted sleep, a shift of priority from self-care to the baby first, adjustments in lifestyle and habits, and the chores at home. All these can add weight. Sadly, these can take weeks or months to cope with. 

The abrupt changes can cause the brain to feel sluggish, pressured, and depressed. Our overwhelming emotions may entertain negative feelings of losing control over things, becoming less attractive, and being lonely, stuck at home.

What Factors Can Increase the Risk of Getting Baby Blues?

 

sad mother and baby

Although the cause is still unknown, certain factors can increase the risk of experiencing BB. These include:

  1. Your family lineage having a history of mood disorders or depression;

  2. Your family is not willing to help you in your pregnancy and parenthood;

  3. You have experienced depression in your previous pregnancy, or you had bipolar disorder;

  4. You have bad experiences throughout the year in various aspects of life, like work, relationship, health, and finances;

  5. Your pregnancy was unexpected or worse, unwanted;

  6. You are having issues or difficulty with breastfeeding your baby; and

  7. Lastly, your baby has serious health concerns or special needs.

Conclusion

In summary, Baby Blues is normal due to the many adjustments from pregnancy to motherhood. However, it can grow into a more severe condition if you don’t take some actionable next steps.


Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Nadia Rumbolt

Nadia Rumbolt is a mom of many trades, including creative writing, blogging, van life, minimalism, veganism, the beach, nature, and the occult.

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