What are the Warning Signs of Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression? 

For many women, the birth of a child is the happiest moment of their life. However, the period after childbirth can be hectic, sleep-deprived, and confusing. Many women may even feel depressed, sad, or lost. You are not alone - more than three million women each year in the United States are diagnosed with postpartum depression and many experience “baby blues” during the first days or weeks after giving birth. Learn more about these conditions, the symptoms, and how to treat them below.


What are the “baby blues?”

The “baby blues,” also referred to as postpartum blues, are a natural reaction caused by hormonal changes that can often cause anxiety, crying and restlessness. Eighty-five percent of new mothers will experience the “baby blues.” These feelings usually go away on their own after hormones level out.


“Baby Blues” Symptoms

Although each mom can experience these differently, “baby blues” often have the following symptoms:

  • Feelings of disappointment
  • Crying for no known reason
  • Irritability
  • Impatience
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness


What is postpartum depression?

Postpartum (perinatal) depression is a mental health illness that affects some women after giving birth to a child. Ten to twenty percent of new moms in the United States are expected to be diagnosed with postpartum depression this year alone. African-American and Hispanic women have a much higher risk of developing it compared to white women.


Postpartum Depression Symptoms

Major symptoms include:

  • Crying more often than usual
  • Feelings of anger
  • Withdrawing from loved ones
  • Feeling numb or disconnected from your baby
  • Worrying that you will hurt the baby
  • Feeling guilty about not being a good mom or doubting your ability to care for the baby


How are “baby blues” and postpartum depression different?

“Baby blues” are often mild mood changes and feelings of worry and exhaustion experienced after giving birth and usually go away on their own. Women with postpartum depression experience longer lasting and more intense mood changes and feelings of unhappiness that can last longer than two weeks after giving birth.


Ways to Treat Postpartum Depression

African-American women not only face a higher chance of developing postpartum depression, but they are also less likely to receive treatment. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, the sooner a woman accesses treatment the sooner postpartum depression can be treated with therapy and antidepressant medication. Only a medical professional can diagnose you properly. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, reach out to your ACCESS provider right away.


How does ACCESS support patients experiencing these symptoms?

If you are not sure if you are experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression, speak with your provider. ACCESS asks questions to help screen for maternal depression during your pregnancy and postpartum visits, as well as your baby’s well child visits up to six months. If you and your provider determine that you are experiencing symptoms of baby blues or postpartum depression, your ACCESS care team can get you connected with help, including a behavioral health specialist.


What Causes Postpartum Depression?

There are many factors that cause postpartum depression, but it cannot be caused by something you did or didn’t do during pregnancy according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Postpartum depression is caused by both physical and emotional factors. Women who have had prior experience with depression, experience with a stressful life event before or after giving birth, lack of emotional support, and have a history of alcohol or drug abuse are more likely to suffer from postpartum depression.


Additional Resources


How We Can Help

Your health matters and ACCESS is here to help. ACCESS’ care team will partner with you during several of your routine visits to complete a screening that will help identify postpartum symptoms. Our care team will also provide support and parenting resources, help build your confidence, and empower you to achieve overall health and wellness for yourself and your child.

Make An Appointment


May 01, 2024