The Baby Blues

As much as 80% of all new mothers will experience what is known as the "baby blue." Because of its commonality, the baby blues are not classified as a postpartum mood disorder. But this doesn’t mean that emotions a woman experiences with the baby blues are any less troubling.

Feeling Blue
Women are told over and over again just how wonderful and magical it is to give birth. Yet, despite all this build up, many women find themselves feeling a bit sad and let down after the birth of their child. These are the baby blues. Although similar to depression, the baby blues are not actually classified as such. To find out more on depression, visit

The baby blues usually show up shortly after birth, within three or four days. Often, these emotions seem to appear out of nowhere. However, the baby blues can also disappear quite quickly. They usually disappear on their own within two weeks.

Why the Baby Blues Happen
Often thought of as a very mild form postpartum depression, most experts attribute the baby blues to the sudden, quick change in your hormones just after birth. During your nine months of pregnancy, your estrogen and progesterone levels steadily increase. By the end of your pregnancy, they are about ten times their normal levels.

Immediately after you deliver your child and the placenta, your hormone levels begin to plummet until they reach their pre-pregnancy levels. Add to this the emotional and physical stress of giving birth and it’s no wonder you may find yourself feeling a bit down for the first few weeks after the birth.

Many new mothers tend to have an increased sense of anxiety because of the new responsibility a baby brings with him. Not surprisingly, this anxiety can have a negative impact on your mood. The fatigue and lack of sleep that affects all new mothers only serves to compound the problem. You may also be disappointed if you’re having troubles nursing or your partner isn’t helping out as much as you would like.

Signs of the Baby Blues
Symptoms of the baby blues are generally mild and can include:

  • Weepiness
  • Mood Swings
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Loneliness
  • Restlessness
  • Impatience

Chasing Those Blues Away
Although the baby blues often disappear on their own, there are some things you can do to help yourself feel better and ease the symptoms.

  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet
  • Join a support group for new mothers
  • Make time each day to do something you enjoy
  • Give yourself a change of scenery by meeting with a friend for a cup of coffee or enjoy an evening out on the town with your partner
  • Talk with your partner about dividing up the parenting responsibilities so you don’t feel like you are doing everything by yourself

When to Seek Help
Unlike postpartum depression and other postpartum mood disorder, the baby blues are not a serious disorder and usually go away on their own within two weeks. However, if your symptoms last for more than two weeks or your depression interferes with your daily activities, make an appointment with your health care provider. You could be suffering from postpartum depression. If you have thoughts of harming yourself or your baby, seek medical attention immediately.

You'll also find information on postpartum depression on our sister Pregnancy site.