Postpartum emotions – What’s normal?
Going from pregnancy to parenthood can be emotional – full of high highs and low lows. One minute you may feel full of happiness and joy and the next you may feel full of tears and anxiety. These mood swings are caused by hormonal changes that happen in your body following childbirth and are typically referred to as the “baby blues.”
“The baby blues are a normal adjustment period that usually resolves in the first two weeks after delivery,” said Lauren Beasley, MD, “but if your mood doesn’t return to normal after this you may have a more serious condition.”
Dr. Beasley shared some things to remember and be aware of while navigating postpartum hormone changes:
- Hormonal shifts after your baby is born are normal.
- These shifts can cause mood swings.
- Mixed feelings of sadness, anxiety and fatigue are normal. This includes a tendency to cry.
- With rest, proper diet and the support of family and friends, this usually goes away within two weeks.
Dr. Beasley said 10% of women develop postpartum depression. “This occurs in normal moms who love their babies. It does not mean you are a bad mom. If you do not feel better and you feel like your emotional highs and lows are lasting longer than normal, please seek help. This does require treatment and counseling for recovery. Also, if at any point you experience thoughts of wanting to hurt yourself, or anyone else, please call someone immediately.”
Signs of postpartum depression include:
- Being unsure about taking care of you or your baby
- An inability to do chores and everyday tasks
“Pregnancy and birth can bring about many changes in a woman’s body. Your doctor can help you be aware of these changing emotions, know how to cope with them and connect you with resources that are available to help,” Dr. Beasley said.
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