1 in 7 pregnant and new mothers may experience depression or anxiety. New mothers may experience little sleep and new and increasing responsibilities that may cause stress and anxiety, all of which can lead to depression.
If you are experiencing any signs or symptoms, seek help by contacting your healthcare provider.
Do I have baby blues or Postpartum Depression (PPD)?
Forty to 80% of all new mothers may experience the baby blues within the first 10 days following birth. While a new baby can bring immense joy to a family, families also experience stress, fatigue, and difficulty adjusting to a new routine and responsibilities. Many new mothers may have the baby blues after childbirth, which is a fairly normal occurrence that typically lasts less than two weeks.
Symptoms of Baby Blues include:
- Mood swings and crying spells
- Sadness and anxiety
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Reduced concentration
These symptoms do not interfere with functioning or infant care and are intermixed with feelings of happiness. These feelings are temporary and usually fade on their own within the first few weeks after birth.
If feelings of sadness, anxiety, and worry do not resolve within a few weeks, a mother may be experiencing postpartum depression or other perinatal mood disorders that may require treatment.
What are my help/treatment options?
Therapy can be an effective way to address the way parents are feeling, thinking, and acting. Women struggling with postpartum depression can benefit from learning new ways to cope with stress, and how to manage their feelings. Involving significant others (for example, spouses, family) in treatment can also help improve communication and enlist their support and help during difficult times. Counseling may be done on an individual basis, or may be offered in a group through a formal group therapy program.
Antidepressants may be effective in treating postpartum depression. For more information about medication use contact your healthcare provider.
Support groups can be helpful in a variety of ways, including:
- Helping moms to make connections with other moms struggling with postpartum depression
- Learning helpful and practical coping skills from other moms
- Reduces a sense of isolation
In addition to therapy and/or medication, many men benefit from supplemental support such as:
It is always important to mention all treatments, whether prescribed or not, with your healthcare providers.
Resources for moms
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Frequently asked questions about PPD, focusing on treatment options.
- MedLine Plus
Basic information about PPD, treatment and therapies, journal articles.
- Pregnancy, Infancy and Early Childhood Division (PIE)
Services aimed at supporting early parenting practices and helping parents transition into parenthood.
- One Tough Job
A Children’s Trust program that provides parents with reliable information and resources about parenting.
- William James College
Parenting tips and information.
- Zip Milk
Provides listings for breastfeeding resources by zip code.
- Massachusetts Breastfeeding Coalition
List of various breastfeeding support services in Massachusetts including lactation consultants, breastfeeding counselors and peer support.
- La Leche League
Dedicated to help mothers to breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information, and education, and to promote a better understanding of breastfeeding.
- Mass General Breastfeeding Information and Services
Breastfeeding support, education, and lactation consultants.