Postpartum Baby Blues

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Postpartum Baby Blues

Postpartum Baby Blues

The postpartum period begins right after the birth of a baby. During this time, there is often joy and excitement. It is also a time of many changes in the life of the parents. A mother may feel happy one minute and sad or stressed the next. These feelings of sadness, called the baby blues, usually happen in the period right after the baby is born and go away within a week or two.

What are the causes?

The exact cause of this condition is not known. Changes in hormone levels after childbirth are believed to trigger some of the symptoms.

Other factors that can play a role in these mood changes include:
  • Lack of sleep.
  • Stressful life events, such as financial problems, caring for a loved one, or death of a loved one.
  • Genetics.

What are the signs or symptoms?

Symptoms of this condition include:
  • Changes in mood, such as going from extreme happiness to sadness.
  • A decrease in concentration.
  • Difficulty sleeping.
  • Crying spells and tearfulness.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Irritability.
  • Anxiety.

If these symptoms last for more than 2 weeks or become more severe, you may have postpartum depression.

How is this diagnosed?

This condition is diagnosed based on an evaluation of your symptoms. Your health care provider may use a screening tool that includes a list of questions to help identify a person with the baby blues or postpartum depression.

How is this treated?

The baby blues usually go away on their own in 1–2 weeks. Social support is often what is needed. You will be encouraged to get adequate sleep and rest.

Follow these instructions at home:


  • Get as much rest as you can. Take a nap when the baby sleeps.
  • Exercise regularly as told by your health care provider. Some women find yoga and walking to be helpful.
  • Eat a balanced and nourishing diet. This includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
  • Do little things that you enjoy. Take a bubble bath, read your favorite magazine, or listen to your favorite music.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Ask for help with household chores, cooking, grocery shopping, or running errands. Do not try to do everything yourself. Consider hiring a postpartum doula to help. This is a professional who specializes in providing support to new mothers.
  • Try not to make any major life changes during pregnancy or right after giving birth. This can add stress.

General instructions

  • Talk to people close to you about how you are feeling. Get support from your partner, family members, friends, or other new moms. You may want to join a support group.
  • Find ways to manage stress. This may include:
    • Writing your thoughts and feelings in a journal.
    • Spending time outside.
    • Spending time with people who make you laugh.
  • Try to stay positive in how you think. Think about the things you are grateful for.
  • Take over-the-counter and prescription medicines only as told by your health care provider.
  • Let your health care provider know if you have any concerns.
  • Keep all postpartum visits. This is important.

Contact a health care provider if:

  • Your baby blues do not go away after 2 weeks.

Get help right away if:

  • You have thoughts of taking your own life (suicidal thoughts), or of harming your baby or someone else.
  • You see or hear things that are not there (hallucinations).

If you ever feel like you may hurt yourself or others, or have thoughts about taking your own life, get help right away. Go to your nearest emergency department or:
  • Call your local emergency services (911 in the U.S.).
  • Call a suicide crisis helpline, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 1-800-273-8255 or 988 in the U.S. This is open 24 hours a day in the U.S.
  • Text the Crisis Text Line at 741741 (in the U.S.).


  • After giving birth, you may feel happy one minute and sad or stressed the next. Feelings of sadness that happen right after the baby is born and go away after a week or two are called the baby blues.
  • You can manage the baby blues by getting enough rest, eating a healthy diet, exercising, spending time with supportive people, and finding ways to manage stress.
  • If feelings of sadness and stress last longer than 2 weeks or get in the way of caring for your baby, talk with your health care provider. This may mean you have postpartum depression.

This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider. Make sure you discuss any questions you have with your health care provider.