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Baby Blues

Between 30-75 per cent of women get the "baby blues," during the first few days after childbirth. They may lose sleep, feel irritable, cry easily, and feel happy one minute and sad the next. Hormone changes are one cause of these emotional changes. In addition there are the demands of a new baby, visits from relatives, or other family needs that add to a mother's stress. The "baby blues" usually peak around the fourth day and then ease up in less than two weeks. In some women, sometime in the first three months after delivery, the baby blues become a more serious condition called postpartum depression (PPD). Postpartum depression affects about 13 per cent of new mothers. 

Managing the baby blues

While you can't prevent the hormone changes that cause the baby blues, you can take good care of yourself. 

  • Ask for help from others, so you can get as much sleep, healthy food, exercise, and overall support as possible.
  • Stay away from alcohol, caffeine, and use only those drugs or medicines  recommended by your doctor.
  • Check in with your health care provider. Close monitoring after childbirth is important. If you are worried about developing PPD, have your first postnatal check-up three or four weeks after childbirth rather than the typical six weeks.
  • Talk to your public health nurse. She or he can offer screening that may help you.
  • Connect with other new mothers. No one can better understand and support the challenges of caring for a new baby than other new moms. 

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Updated May 10, 2013