Baby Blues & Postpartum (After Childbirth) Depression

(Also known as Perinatal Mood Disorder)

During the postpartum (after childbirth) period, women appear to be at much higher risk of suffering from emotional instability than at any other time in their lives. The “Baby Blues”, the mildest form of postpartum mood change, can occur in up to 80% of new mothers. These mood changes appear within three to four days after childbirth, are frequently short-lived and generally disappear within ten days after birth. Although these feelings can be upsetting, there is usually no cause for concern. During this period, you might experience rapid mood shifts that may be disturbing. You may feel:

  • overwhelmed
  • angry
  • inadequate
  • unlovable
  • sad
  • numb
  • unable to concentrate
  • a lack of interest in food or activities that used to be pleasurable
  • irritable
  • restless and have difficulty sleeping, even when your newborn is asleep

Postpartum Depression

If these feelings continue, you may be experiencing a more serious disturbance called postpartum depression. This could develop into an emotional mood disorder that can last months or even years. Caring for your baby while dealing with postpartum depression can be a lot to handle. Early, effective care for postpartum depression is available and can make it easier for you to give your baby the attention he or she needs to be healthy.

Deciding If You Need Help

To help you understand your emotional changes, take this quick and easy, self-scored Postpartum Depression Survey. If you score 10 or greater, or if you answer “yes” to question #10, please call your doctor or call our Mental Health and Substance Abuse department at the phone number listed on the back of your health plan ID card to speak with a mental health professional.

No Question or Concern is Too Small.

We encourage you to get help whenever you feel troubled. You can talk to your OB/GYN or another trusted medical professional, get help from the Employee Assistance Program at your workplace (if offered) or call your health plan to locate confidential counseling services in your area. For immediate access to a mental health counselor, you can call our Mental Health and Substance Abuse department at the phone number listed on the back of your ID card.