Pregnancy can bring out many different emotions, thoughts and behaviours, most times these are managable and include excitement, joy, hope. But with a few women, the chemical and hormonal changes can turn into fear, anxiety and depression. Having the "baby blues" is normal for up to two weeks after birth, as the body goes through many changes, and the dynamics within the family shift. However, when the "blues" last longer and are more pronounced it is considered as depression. Some characteristics include:

  • This may be triggered in women as well as men
  • The baby blues usually go away in 3 to 5 days after they start.
  • The symptoms of postpartum depression last longer and are more severe.
  • Postpartum depression usually begins within the first month after childbirth, but it can begin during pregnancy or for up to a year after birth.

Triggers - The Causes

  • History of mental health problems, particularly depression, earlier in life
  • History of mental health problems during pregnancy
  • Having no close family or friends to support you
  • A difficult relationship with your partner
  • Recent stressful life events, such as a bereavement
  • Physical or psychological trauma, such as domestic violence

Symptoms - What it looks like

  • Persistent feeling of sadness and low mood
  • Lack of enjoyment and loss of interest in the wider world
  • Lack of energy and feeling tired all the time
  • Trouble sleeping at night and feeling sleepy during the day
  • Finding it difficult to look after yourself and your baby
  • Withdrawing from contact with other people
  • Problems concentrating and making decisions
  • Frightening thoughts – for example, about hurting your baby

Treatment - The way to healing

  • Psychotherapy and support from a mental health professional
  • Medication
  • Self-help: exercise, healthy diet, connecting with other new parents
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If you, or someone you know, is in need of emergency care or urgent crisis intervention, please contact your local emergency numbers immediately