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Taking Care of Feelings

Pregnancy and the birth of a baby bring about many changes in your life. Adjusting to them is not always easy. Aside from the physical demands, there are many emotional changes.

Postpartum Blues (affects 4 of 5 women)

About 3 to 5 days after giving birth, you may have a few days of emotional distress called the “Baby Blues”. Symptoms may include:

  • crying spells
  • feeling sad
  • feeling irritable
  • feeling frustrated
  • feeling tired

Some people think that these “blues” are due to hormonal changes. Others believe they are from the relief after any stressful and/or joyful situation. These feelings usually pass in a few days and rarely need medical treatment. Talking about your feelings and knowing they are normal are often the most helpful.

Postpartum Mood Disorder (affects 1 of 5 women)

You may be experiencing a Postpartum Mood Disorder (for example, depression) if the blues are severe or last more than 2 weeks. This can begin up to one year after your baby arrives. It can happen to any mother. Symptoms may include:

  • feeling overwhelmed or anxious
  • feeling sadness or hopelessness
  • feeling helpless or unable to cope
  • having no feelings for your baby
  • having thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
  • changes in sleep, energy, appetite, and concentration

If left untreated, this may make it difficult to cope with parenting. Seek professional advice from your health-care provider. Treatment and support are available.

Postpartum Psychosis (very rare)

This severe, but extremely rare, disorder may develop following the birth of your baby. Symptoms may include:

  • a loss of contact with reality for extended periods of time
  • hallucinations or delusions
  • thoughts or actions related to suicide and/or the death of your baby

Immediate medical help is required.

References:

Best Start, 2016

Canadian Mental Health Association (online) 2016

If you or your family are concerned about the way you are feeling contact your health-care provider.