Postpartum Mood Disorders

Contact(s)

Bringing home a new baby can be exciting, but can also be overwhelming. Getting used to your new role can bring physical and emotional changes. More than 70% of new mothers feel a little depressed after birth. Remember, it is normal to feel sad, tearful, and feel irritable. It is helpful to understand the differences between the postpartum mood disorders described below and to know what to do if they happen.

Baby Blues

The "baby blues" happen within a couple of days after the birth. Four in five mothers will have postpartum blues. It is normal and it will pass in a few days to two weeks at the most.

You may:

  • Feel sad
  • Feel tired
  • Have trouble sleeping
  • Have trouble making decisions

It is important to reach out to your partner, family and friends for support. Also, take care of yourself by resting and eating healthy foods.

If the baby blues seem to be getting worse instead of better, or if they last more than 2 weeks, you may be moving into postpartum depression.

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression lasts longer than the "baby blues", involves more intense emotions, and often requires counseling and treatment. About 10% of women who give birth develop postpartum depression. Many new mothers are surprised at how fragile, alone and overwhelmed they feel after the birth of a child. Their feelings do not seem to match their expectations.

Signs of postpartum depression:

  • My baby blues have not gone away after 2 weeks
  • I don't feel like my usual self
  • I have strong feelings of sadness or guilt
  • I often feel very anxious or worried
  • I have strong feelings of hopelessness or helplessness
  • I cannot sleep, even when I am tired
  • I sleep all the time, even when my baby is awake
  • I cannot eat, even when I am hungry
  • I cannot eat because I am never hungry, or because I feel sick
  • I worry about the baby too much; I'm obsessed with the baby
  • I do not worry about the baby at all; it's almost like I don't care
  • I am having anxiety or panic attacks
  • I feel angry toward the baby
  • I think about hurting my baby, or myself

If your feelings do not lessen after a few weeks and begin to interfere with your functioning, contact your health care provider. If you feel like hurting yourself or your baby, or are thinking about suicide, get help right away.

Where to Get Help

  •  Speak to your Health Care Provider or call Telehealth 1-866-797-0000
  • Contact Healthy Families at 1-800-563-2808 ext. 5351 or email healthy.families@healthunit.ca
  • Your local Mental Health Agency

 For Immediate Assistance

  • Call 9-1-1
  • Visit your local hospital emergency department
  • Call the Mental Health Crisis line

North Bay

345 Oak Street West
705-474-1400

Parry Sound

70 Joseph Street Unit #302
705-746-5801

Burk's Falls

17 Copeland Street (by appointment only)
1-800-563-2808