Are mood changes common after childbirth?
Yes. After having a baby, many women have mood swings. One minute they feel happy, the next minute they start to cry. They may feel a little depressed, have a hard time concentrating, lose their appetite or find that they can't sleep well even when the baby is asleep. These symptoms usually start about 3 to 4 days after delivery and may last several days.
If you're a new mother and have any of these symptoms, you have what are called the baby blues. The baby blues are considered a normal part of early motherhood and usually go away within 10 days after delivery.
What is postpartum depression?
Some womens have more severe symptoms of the baby blues or symptoms that last longer than a few days. This is called postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is an illness, like diabetes or heart disease.
Postpartum Major Depression: Detection and Treatment by C. Neill Epperson, M.D. (American Family Physician April 15, 1999, http://www.aafp.org/afp/990415ap/2247.html)
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff