Do I Have the Baby Blues?
As many as 80% of women have the baby blues. The symptoms come on after the baby is born and usually last only a couple of weeks.
Pregnancy, labor, and delivery put an amazing amount of stress on your body. During pregnancy, you have time to get used to your increasingly large size, and at least some of the physiologic changes come on slowly. Labor and delivery is a stress of a completely different kind, and it is exhausting, both physically and emotionally. Your body suddenly drops 10 to 15 pounds of weight. Your hormone levels will be changing and fluctuating. You also now have to take care of your totally helpless infant, which is both wonderful and also a bit frightening, especially if this is your first baby.
Many women notice extreme emotional shifts right after their babies are born. You may be very happy one minute, and then find yourself crying. You may not have a good appetite. You may have trouble sleeping during the little time you have to sleep. You may be cranky and irritable. You may feel impatient and restless. If you feel these symptoms, you are certainly not alone. As many as 80% of women have the baby blues. The symptoms come on after the baby is born and usually last only a couple of weeks.
Some of the symptoms are from the large hormonal changes you experience after delivery. If you ever had premenstrual syndrome, or if you had emotional changes with your pregnancy, you will know that hormones affect your feelings. The huge drop in your hormone levels may act on your body and show up as mood changes. It doesn't take long for your system to stabilize, and when that happens, you will start to feel more like yourself.
Sometimes, you may feel let down by the delivery and the baby. Your baby may not look perfect. His or her head shape may have been changed by delivery. He or she may have baby acne or something else that makes him or her look less than ideal. A lot of those things will disappear over time. You will also get used to how he or she looks.