The baby blues

Is it normal it feel a bit down after the birth, and can it turn into post-natal depression?

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You’ll probably be on a high immediately after giving birth.

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The sheer joy of having your beautiful baby in your arms, raised hormone levels, even the after-effects of any drugs left in your body from the birth may all help make you feel you’re riding the crest of a wave.

For most new mums, those feelings of achievement and relief that it all went OK will subside within a couple of days.

What many women find themselves left with then is a sense of deflation, a feeling of ‘is this it then?’, tiredness, flatness and even weepiness.

This is known as the baby blues, and around half to two-thirds of all new mothers experience it three or four days after giving birth.

Doctors believe it is probably caused by the large and rapid changes in female hormone levels following pregnancy and birth.

The baby blues tends to sort itself out and does not usually require any specific treatment other than reassurance and support.

More serious is post-natal depression (PND), which is a recognised medical condition and occurs in some 10-15% of new mums.

Symptoms can include the following: depression; irritability; fatigue; sleeplessness; lack of appetite; anxiety; inability to cope; lack of interest in anything.

PND can be treated, so do visit your GP or speak to your midwife if you suspect you or a close friend may be suffering.

Read more about PND on our sister site www.netdoctor.co.uk

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Click HERE for more information about PND on babyexpert. Support groups include the Association for Postnatal Illness.

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