The ‘baby blues’
The ‘baby blues’ describes feelings of tearfulness, anxiety and irritability that many women experience 3 or 4 days after giving birth. These feelings are common and usually only last for a few days.
Around 1 in 10 mothers develop postnatal depression. Whilst symptoms usually begin 4- 6 weeks after childbirth, women can develop symptoms of depression during pregnancy up until several months after giving birth.
Symptoms of postnatal depression include:
- low mood all of most of the time
- lack of energy
- poor appetite
- feeling guilty or inadequate
- a lack of enjoyment and interest in yourself and your baby
- poor concentration
- thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
Women are more likely to suffer from postnatal depression if:
- they have a history of depression (particularly postnatal depression)
- they don't have a supportive partner
- they have a premature baby
- they have had several recent life stresses such as bereavement, unemployment or housing difficulties
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you can speak in confidence to your Health Visitor or GP. Developing good support networks before your baby is born and in the early days of parenthood can be invaluable as you adjust to life as a new mum. Often women who have postnatal depression can feel lonely and isolated. It is important to remember that postnatal depression is not uncommon and that you are not alone. Here are just a few ideas of places you can go to for help and support:
- your doctor or health visitor
- family and friends
- antenatal classes
- postnatal support groups
- mother and baby groups
- antenatal and postnatal exercise classes, e.g. swimming, yoga, baby gym
Children's Centres often run postnatal support groups in Wandsworth. Please call to confirm dates and times before attending.
You can find out more about postnatal depression by visiting the Royal College of Psychiatrists website.