Along with the joy of welcoming a new baby into the world, many mothers feel sad, anxious or afraid. These feelings can be indicative of the "baby blues" or of postpartum depression.
About 70 to 80 percent of all new mothers experience the mild symptoms associated with baby blues within two to four days after birth. Symptoms include:
- Frequent, prolonged crying
- Trouble sleeping, eating or making choices
- Anxiety over ability to care for the baby
This lasts about 10 days, and it resolves without treatment.
Approximately one in seven new mothers experience the more debilitating and longer-lasting symptoms of postpartum depression. These symptoms can appear anytime during the first year after birth, but typically begin within three months postpartum. The symptoms of postpartum depression must be present most of the day nearly every day for two continuous weeks and include five of the symptoms listed below, one of which must be either low or depressed mood OR loss of interest or pleasure:
- Low or depressed mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
- Appetite changes — more often loss of appetite, others may notice an increase in appetite
- Sleep disturbance — usually insomnia or disrupted sleep, even when the baby sleeps; others may have increased sleep
- Poor energy
- Excessive guilt
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Poor concentration or difficulty making decisions
- Agitation or feelings of being slowed down
Members of the Asher Center for the Study and Treatment of Depressive Disorders provide clinical care through Feinberg-affiliate care sites. Visit our Patient Care page for more information.
With research participants' help, we are able to able to better understand, diagnose and develop treatment for depressive disorders. Browse our clinical trials to participate and help test new treatments.