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New Moms: Is it the Baby Blues or Postpartum Depression?

Monday, February 26, 2018 7:49 AM

There is a common expectation for new moms after they have given birth – it is supposed to be a magical time full of bliss and baby coos. What is not talked about often are the baby blues and postpartum depression, which Ivanka Trump revealed this week that she struggled with after the birth of her children. More often than not, the bliss and the tears of joy are not the experience but, rather, sadness and weepiness. Molly Antoniolli, MDPediatrician at NorthShore, shares that this is a normal feeling. Up to 80% of new moms feel this way. What’s important is recognizing it and telling the difference between the baby blues and postpartum depression.


Baby Blues symptoms:

  • Exhaustion
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Weepiness
  • Mild depression
  • Feeling overwhelmed or emotionally fragile

These feelings are normal and last up to two weeks after delivery. The baby blues are caused by the sudden change of hormones after delivery, stress, sleep deprivation and fatigue.  When experiencing the baby blues, the biggest distinction is that although the feelings above may occur frequently, moms are happy the majority of the time.

Postpartum Depression (also known as perinatal depression) symptoms:

  • Feeling sad or anxious
  • Unable to fall asleep or sleeping too much
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Unexplained crying
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Changes in appetite
  • Easily agitated
  • Lack of energy, fatigued
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Inability to make decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Postpartum depression is different from the baby blues as the feelings of depression are much more intense, last longer and interfere with daily activities.

Dr. Antoniolli recommends reaching out to your obstetrician if you feel that you are experiencing any of the symptoms for more than two weeks. You can also call our confidential hotline that is available 24 hours a day to patients and their families for information and support - the NorthShore Perinatal Depression Program hotline's number is 866.364.MOMS (866.364.6667).