Postpartum Depression, Baby Blues, Or Postpartum Psychosis?

August 27, 2022

Having a child is an incredible experience.  It is a very exciting time for new parents but it is also very tiring at the same time.  More than likely your baby isn’t sleeping through the night yet, leaving you and your partner sleep-deprived.  That alone can make you feel out of sorts some days.  Have you been experiencing different emotions that have you concerned that it may be something more than just being tired?  Could it be postpartum depression, baby blues, or postpartum psychosis? 

It is normal for most new mothers to feel this way.  You have been going through some life changes that affect you physically and emotionally.  However, if you think that you are experiencing a mood disorder, follow along here as we cover some of the most common mood disorders new mothers experience. 

There Are Three Different Types Of Postpartum Mood Disorders

Postpartum blues or baby blues

Baby blues can look like frequent or prolonged bouts of crying for no real apparent reason and/or moments where you feel overwhelmed by anxiety.  The baby blues affect between 50% and 75% of mothers after delivery.  It generally starts in the first week after delivery.  This experience, although unpleasant, usually subsides within two weeks without treatment. During this time the best thing to do is to seek support from family, friends, and your partner.

Postpartum depression

Postpartum depression affects about 1 out of 7 new parents and is a far more serious condition than the baby blues. If you’ve experienced postpartum depression before, your risk increases to 30% each pregnancy. With postpartum depression, you may experience alternating highs and lows, frequent crying, irritability, and fatigue, as well as feelings of guilt and anxiety.  You may also feel unable to care for your baby or yourself. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and appear within a week after you deliver your baby or come on gradually, even up to a year later. Symptoms can last several months.  Treatment options like psychotherapy or antidepressants can be very effective.

Postpartum psychosis

Postpartum psychosis is an extremely severe form of postpartum depression and will require emergency medical attention. This condition generally affects 1 out of 1,000 people after delivery. Symptoms occur rather quickly after delivery and are considered severe – lasting for a few weeks to several months. The symptoms can include confusion, severe agitation, insomnia, paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, hyperactivity, rapid speech, mania, and feelings of hopelessness and shame. Immediate medical attention is required for those that experience postpartum psychosis because there is an increased risk of suicide and risk of harm to the baby. Treatment usually includes hospitalization, psychotherapy, and medication.

What Is The Difference Between Baby Blues And Postpartum Depression?

Many new moms experience the baby blues after giving birth. Baby blues and postpartum depression have very similar symptoms. Generally, symptoms of the baby blues last about 10 days and can be less intense. With postpartum depression, the symptoms are more severe and can last anywhere from weeks to months.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to share your symptoms with your healthcare provider.  Especially, if your symptoms last more than two weeks.  These conditions can be treated.  It is also important to talk to your family, friends, and your partner about what you are experiencing.  

For immediate help or if you have thoughts of hurting yourself or someone else:

  • Dial 911 in an emergency.
  • Dial 988 for Crisis Lifeline, available 24hrs.
  • Contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HELLO to 741741.

OB-GYN Women’s Centre of Lakewood Ranch is here for you through all the stages of your life.  You are not alone, we can help.  Call us at 941.907.3008 or set up an appointment online.