Many women experience emotional swings in the first two weeks after childbirth, commonly called the “baby blues.” Symptoms include crying spells, sadness, irritability and difficulty sleeping.
“A woman who has just given birth experiences hormonal changes which may compound stressors such as financial or relationship problems, anxiety about motherhood or a lack of support, leaving a new mother more vulnerable to sadness,” says Dr. Anna Brandon, staff psychologist of the Women’s Mental Health Center at UT Southwestern Medical Center.
To cope with these feelings, Dr. Brandon suggests napping when the baby sleeps and asking for help with motherhood’s physical and emotional demands from a partner or family, friends and support groups.
If these symptoms last longer than two weeks and keep a mom from functioning well, Dr. Brandon says a health care provider should be contacted right away. Longer duration and greater intensity could indicate an episode of Major Depressive Disorder with a postpartum onset.
“Although the baby blues generally resolve in a few days, postpartum depressive episodes beg attention to ensure the physical and emotional well-being of mother and child,” Dr. Brandon says.
Visit http://www.utsouthwestern.org/mentalhealth to learn more about
UT Southwestern’s clinical services in psychiatry.
Media Contact: LaKisha Ladson
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