Postpartum Baby Blues vs Depression

Read on to learn about postpartum baby blues vs depression and available treatment options for new mothers.

Postpartum Baby Blues vs Depression

Article Contents

What Is Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression?

Hormone changes following birth are common. Often, this chemical shift can result in symptoms such as depression or increased anxiety, a condition known as baby blues. However, this hormonal change can sometimes lead to the development of a depression disorder known as postpartum depression.

The baby blues and postpartum depression feature periods of depression, sadness, and loneliness after birth. However, postpartum depression, or PPD, is typically more severe with a longer duration.

How Long Do The Baby Blues Usually Last?

Most mothers will experience a drop in certain brain and body chemicals within the first few days of birth. This includes estrogen. As a result, an otherwise joyous moment to celebrate can leave new mothers feeling lonely, depressed, and overwhelmed.

For many mothers, these symptoms only last a few days or a week. Typically, symptoms resolve entirely within two weeks.

Baby Blues Symptoms

Baby blues symptoms may often resemble those of depression and anxiety. Drops in certain brain chemicals can lead to mood swings, and episodes of feeling depressed, and overwhelmed.
Symptoms of baby blues may include:

  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Irritability
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Crying
  • Reduced concentration
  • Appetite problems
  • Trouble sleeping

Postpartum Depression Symptoms

Postpartum depression often resembles baby blues in terms of symptoms. However, postpartum depression tends to be more severe and may result in difficulties with relationships, including with one’s new baby. When someone experiences postpartum depression, they may struggle to bond with their child, resulting in subsequent feelings of inadequacy and loss.1

Indications of Postpartum Depression

Overall, the symptoms of postpartum depression are:
  • Depressed mood or severe mood swings
  • Excessive crying
  • Difficulty bonding with your baby
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Loss of appetite or eating much more than usual
  • Inability to sleep (insomnia) or sleeping too much
  • Overwhelming fatigue or loss of energy
  • Hopelessness
  • Feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt, or inadequacy
  • Restlessness
  • Severe anxiety and panic attacks

What Causes Postpartum Depression?

There is no single cause for postpartum depression. However, like other forms of depression, scientists believe that various factors may influence the development of postpartum depression. Some of these factors include:
  • Changes in hormone levels
  • History of depression
  • Emotional factors
  • Fatigue
  • Lifestyle factors

How Do Baby Blues Differ From Postpartum Depression?

The most notable difference between baby blues and postpartum depression is frequency. Baby blues occur more frequently than postpartum depression, with as many as 80 percent of new mothers experiencing this condition.2 PPD, on the other hand, only affects around 17 percent of new mothers.3
However, the differences aren’t limited to how often these conditions may occur. The baby blues also differ from postpartum depression in other major ways. These will be detailed below.

Timeline

There is also a major difference in the timeline for baby blues versus postpartum depression. In many cases, the symptoms of baby blues faded within two weeks. For postpartum depression, however, individuals may be affected for as long as a year following the birth of their child. Severity of symptoms

Severity of Symptoms

Baby blues is considered a common, mild form of postpartum depression. It features mild symptoms that affect mood rather than lifestyle and relationships. PPD, however, features more severe symptoms with a great impact on the individual. This includes difficulties with appetite, relationships, and sleeping.4

Treatment For Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression can make recovery after birth difficult. It can also make it difficult to connect with your loved ones and the new baby in weeks and even months following birth. However, postpartum depression treatment is available.

Medications

Often, postpartum depression can be treated just like other forms of clinical depression: using medication. Because PPD is often a chemical problem within the brain, certain medications can help create balance and restore daily quality of life.

Some of the medications involved in PPD treatment include:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Atypical antidepressants
  • Tricyclic antidepressants and monoamine oxidase inhibitors
  • Brexanolone

Hormone Therapy

Because depression is most often associated with deficiencies of certain hormones, hormone therapy can be a beneficial treatment for postpartum depression. This is especially true given the drop in estrogen after birth.

Natural Remedies

Natural remedies can be a beneficial treatment method for postpartum depression. Many cultures have specialized in natural postpartum remedies for centuries, focusing on restoring balance to the mind and body.

Self-Care

Self-care may not be able to treat PPD on its own, but it is an important part of recovery from PPD and birth. Taking time to eat, rest, and tend to your physical and mental health is essential to recovery.

Treatment For Baby Blues

Baby blues often fade on their own. However, in the weeks where you may feel most affected, there are steps you can take to restore your mental health and reconnect with those around you. Mostly, this focuses on tending to your mental and physical well-being as you adjust to this new part of life.

Some of the treatment for baby blues includes:

  • Get as much sleep as you can
  • Ask for help
  • Eat well and get outside
  • Talk to someone
  • Do something you love
  • Bond with your spouse or partner

Get Help For Postpartum Baby Blues and Depression at Iris Healing

Both the baby blues and postpartum depression can make it difficult to enjoy an otherwise joyous and important milestone in your life. However, treatment is available when faced with baby blues or the more severe PPD.

Iris Healing, an Opportunity for Holistic, Long-Lasting Recovery

At Iris Healing, you’ll find various holistic treatment options dedicated to restoring balance in your life to help you best enjoy your new child. Here, you will find a professional staff experienced in treating various types of depression, including postpartum conditions. You will also find treatments dedicated to restoring your physical health in balance with your mental health, such as yoga, breathwork sessions, and even physical therapy.

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