Many mothers experience changes in emotions and mood at some point in their pregnancy and in the first few weeks after birth. This is a normal part of adjusting to the changes of becoming a mother.
Pregnancy and giving birth are emotional experiences. Having a newborn baby is exhilarating, exhausting and physically challenging. The sense of responsibility can be daunting. Feelings of inadequacy and guilt can be overwhelming.
The baby blues are so common they are considered normal for new mothers. Most new mothers feel baby blues a few days after the birth.
Mental health problems are common
1 in 5 women will experience a mental health problem either during pregnancy or in the first year after giving birth. This could be a previous problem that has resurfaced or the first time you have experienced a mental health problem .
There are 3 main kinds of mood change that may happen in the first year after childbirth:
- Baby blues
- Postnatal depression
- Postpartum psychosis
Baby blues usually begin on day 3 after your baby has been born. As your body starts to return to normal, these feelings pass.
Signs of baby blues
You might be tearful, emotional and irritable. You might feel isolated, vulnerable and lonely. This may be due to a change in your hormone levels.
The baby blues can make you feel like you are on an emotional rollercoaster. You may go from feeling great joy to feeling great sadness.
Talk to a person close to you, like a partner, family member or close friend. You will need support to help you get as much rest as you can.
How long the baby blues last
Although you may find it distressing, the baby blues will pass quickly, usually within 1 to 2 weeks.
If the baby blues don't end, contact your midwife, public health nurse or GP.