Feeling depressed after childbirth

Adapting to hormonal change after birth and learning how to care for a newborn can also affect your mood.

You might feel down or low. You may have mood swings and be more tearful than usual. These mood swings are normal.

It is very common to have negative thoughts, even if you are very happy with your new baby.

Most women will have the 'baby blues' after giving birth. It usually begins on day 3 after the birth.

Signs of the baby blues include feeling:

  • tearful
  • emotional
  • irritable
  • isolated
  • vulnerable
  • lonely

When to get help

The baby blues usually pass within 1 to 2 weeks.

If the baby blues don't end, contact your midwife, public health nurse or GP.

Postnatal depression is experienced by some women in the first year after having a baby.

Symptoms include extreme sadness and a sense of detachment from your baby.

Talk to your midwife or GP if you have any of these symptoms or are worried about anything.

Feeling like 'you' again

The good news is that this is not permanent. Your hormone and chemical balance will return to normal pre-pregnancy levels.

If you are breastfeeding, your oestrogen levels usually remain low. They return to normal after you stop breastfeeding.

Page last reviewed: 20 November 2018
Next review due: 20 November 2021