Depression following childbirth can come in different forms, ranging from a short period of mild depression, the ‘baby blues’, to a more intense and long-lasting postnatal depression (PND). The baby blues is a brief period of anxiety, sadness and mood swings after delivering a baby/babies and usually goes away after 1 or 2 weeks.
PND is depression suffered by a mother following childbirth. Some women trace their depression back to their positive pregnancy test or finding out they were expecting multiples at the scan. More commonly, you may find PND developing after the babies’ birth, with the baby blues getting progressively worse as time goes on. Other women do not develop PND until much later; sometimes several months after their babies are born. It is important to remember that fathers and partners can also experience depression after the birth of their babies.
Our guide to PND can be downloaded here: PND guide, but we have outlined the symptoms of PND below (Source: NHS.uk):
- a persistent feeling of sadness and low mood
- loss of interest in the world around you and no longer enjoying things that used to give you pleasure
- lack of energy and feeling tired all the time
- trouble sleeping at night and feeling sleepy during the day
- feeling that you're unable to look after your babies
- problems concentrating and making decisions
- loss of appetite or an increased appetite (comfort eating)
- feeling agitated, irritable or very apathetic (you "can't be bothered")
- feelings of guilt, hopelessness and self-blame
- difficulty bonding with your babies with a feeling of indifference and no sense of enjoyment in their company
- frightening thoughts – for example, about hurting your babies; these can be scary, but they're very rarely acted upon
- thinking about suicide and self-harm
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and think you may be depressed, talk to your GP or health visitor as soon as possible so you can get the help and support you need.