Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Asher Center for the Study and Treatment of Depressive Disorders

About Postpartum Depression/Baby Blues

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.

Baby Blues

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:

This can last a maximum of 10 days, and it resolves without treatment.

Postpartum Depression

Approximately 1 in 7 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 2 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:

Postpartum depression can be treated with many types of therapy, but women have trouble identifying whether they have postpartum depression which can delay treatment. The attached questionnaire, the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale questionnaire is used to screen for postpartum depression. A score of 10 or more indicates that you should speak with a health professional about postpartum depression, and a score of 5-9 indicates that you are at risk for developing the illness. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Patient Care

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