Postpartum depression and the baby blues: how recognize them

depressione e baby blues

The period of postpartum can be difficult. It is quite normal to fell tired and weepy for a couple of days after birth and this happens with the arrival of the breast milk. Once again we have to blame the hormones for this, so don’t be alarmed if the smallest thing makes you cry.
Usually, this postnatal blues clear up after a few days and it is some assurance that they are never quite so bad with a second baby because you know what to expect.

The days leading up to and just after the birth you probably have received a tremendous amount of attention from medical staff, friends and family. This is quite an excitement! Then, suddenly, you are home on your own, and looking after the baby is all up to you. After a week or so, you realize that the responsibilities that come with being a mother would always be there. No-one prepares you or tell you what it is like to suddenly be so totally responsible for a tiny human being. It can be very frightening.

Sometimes a mother can continue to feel emotionally and physically drained for quite a while after the birth and unable to concentrate on even day-to-day tasks with the baby taken all her time.
Your body has just several months of the most important job it will ever do, so give you time.

Some suggestion:

  • Take time to recover at your own pace
  • Forget the housework; let others do it for you and gratefully accept all offers of help.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet and allow yourself to rest during the day when the baby sleeps.
  • Get exercise and fresh air: a walk with the baby every day, for example. Exercise release hormones that ward off melancholy feelings and depression.
  • Get out with your partner again as soon as you can, even if it is just for one hour.
  • Give yourself a treat: do your hair, buy a new dress, have lunch with a friend.

Many women suffer from postnatal blues or fatigue, symptoms that usually fade after a few weeks and rest. In true postnatal depression the feeling of fatigue, exhaustion through lack of sleep and anxiety are joined by other physical and emotional problems, wich can range from fears about being a “bad mother” to resentment towards a partner, sexual anxieties or feeling of failure if you can’t breastfeed. Sometimes these problems don’t appear until many months after the birth and can have their roots in a wide variety of causes; often birth-related.
Some women are disappointed and unhappy with the way the delivery went because wasn’t up to the expectations they had set for themselves.

Aromatherapy can be helpful in the postnatal depression. I can talk in another post how and which essential oils you can use in these situations.

If you have any such worries about yourself or your baby talk to someone. It also helps to talk about your fears with other mothers, many of whom experience in a sort of way the same feelings.

You can also check out by yourself through this Maternal Mental Health Survey. This test is based on the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS). EPDS is a 10-item questionnaire that was developed to identify women who have PostPpartumDepression. Items of the scale correspond to various clinical depression symptoms, such as guilt feeling, sleep disturbance, low energy, anhedonia, and suicidal ideation. Overall assessment is done by total score, which is determined by adding together the scores for each of the 10 items. Higher scores indicate more depressive symptoms. The EPDS may be used within 8 weeks postpartum and it also can be applied for depression screening during pregnancy.

The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale is a widely used depression screening tool, which has been adapted and validated in many languages. IS NOT A DIAGNOSIS!

Indicate how you have felt in the past seven days after childbirth. At the end, a score of 12 or more indicates the likelihood of depression.


  • England A. (1999), Aromatherapy and massage for mother and baby, Vermillion

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