Crying and a very real sadness are main symptoms of the baby blues. Other symptoms can include problems sleeping,fatigue, strong emotional reactions, and changes in body weight.
Hormones as Triggers
It’s hard to say exactly what causes the baby blues, but there is a medical explanation for at least some of the symptoms: the hormonal changes a new mother’s body is going through. When a woman is pregnant, her body produces the female hormones estrogen and progesterone in much greater amounts. But in the first 24 hours after childbirth, these hormone levels drop rapidly back down to their non-pregnant levels. Researchers believe these sudden hormone changes may lead to depression in a similar way that menstrual hormone changes can trigger these symptoms.
In some women, another possible cause of these symptoms following pregnancy is a drop in thyroid hormones, which are produced by the thyroid gland (located in the neck). These hormones help regulate the way your body uses energy. Low thyroid levels can cause depressed or irritated moods, problems with sleep and concentration, and weight gain.
Combine these changes in your body with the dramatic changes in your life — the normal feelings of being overwhelmed with new responsibilities, pressures to be a “great” mom, a sense of loss regarding the life you had before — and you have a recipe for the baby blues.
Getting Through the Baby BluesFor most women, the baby blues is temporary — it’s usually gone within a few days or a week after childbirth. The symptoms aren’t usually severe, and there are fairly simple and effective ways to handle them:
- Get plenty of sleep. Take naps when your baby does.
- Take the pressure off yourself. You can’t do everything by yourself — who can? Do what you can, and leave the rest for later or for others to take care of.
- Avoid spending too much time alone.
- Get help and support from your spouse or partner, family members, and friends.
- Join a support group for new mothers.
- Get plenty of exercise.
Bluer Than Blue
For 1 out of 10 new mothers, the blues progress to fullblown postpartum depression that can get bad enough to make it hard for you to care for your baby or yourself. It can last anywhere from weeks to months and usually requires counseling and treatment. New mothers who find themselves overwhelmed, frustrated, anxious, persistently teary, ordepressed and unable to explain or shake these feelings, should not suffer in silence or shame. Instead, they should talk with their doctors right away and get the support — and in some cases, the treatment — they need.
Symptoms of postpartum depression can range from mild to severe. They can include the same symptoms of the baby blues, but can also include:
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or anxiety
- Lacking energy or motivation
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Trouble focusing, remembering, or making decisions
- Loss of interest in the activities you usually enjoy
- Withdrawal from friends and family
If you are diagnosed with postpartum depression, there are things you can do to help yourself in addition to following your doctor’s treatment plan. The same tips for getting through the baby blues can be very helpful in getting through postpartum depression. Whatever steps you and your doctor decide are best, it’s important that you stick to a treatment plan for depression.
To read more please click on the link: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/prenatal/delivery-beyond/Pages/Understanding-Motherhood-and-Mood-Baby-Blues-and-Beyond.aspx