The postpartum blues, maternity blues, or baby blues is a transient condition that 75-80% of mothers could experience shortly after childbirth with a wide variety of symptoms which generally involve mood lability, tearfulness, and some mild anxiety and depressive symptoms. Baby blues is not postpartum depression, unless it is abnormally severe.
After the placenta is delivered, the placental "hormone factory" shuts down causing radical changes in hormone levels, and the woman can suffer symptoms due to withdrawal from the high pregnancy levels of oestrogen, progesterone and endorphins. Combined with this shift in hormone levels is the physical, mental and emotional exhaustion - as well as sleep deprivation typical of parenting a newborn. All of these factors contribute to the condition.
It can also be normal for the ovaries (having been virtually inactive for the last six months of the pregnancy) to take a number of weeks to return to producing normal pre-pregnancy hormone levels.
This condition may also be associated with thyroid dysfunction.
- Weepiness and bursting into tears.
- Sudden mood swings.
- Anxiousness and hypersensitivity to criticism.
- Low spirits and irritability.
- Poor concentration and indecisiveness.
- Feeling 'unbonded' with baby.
- Restless insomnia.
Instead of suffering the baby blues, some women experience baby pinks when they are overly and illogically on top of the world (a mild to severe form of mania). These symptoms can sometimes be a trigger for a pending depressive imbalance, such as postpartum depression or postnatal psychosis.
- Ijuin T, Douchi T, Yamamoto S, Ijuin Y, Nagata Y (February 1998). "The relationship between maternity blues and thyroid dysfunction". J. Obstet. Gynaecol. Res. 24 (1): 49–55. PMID 9564106.
- Doornbos B, Fekkes D, Tanke MA, de Jonge P, Korf J (July 2008). "Sequential serotonin and noradrenalin associated processes involved in postpartum blues". Prog. Neuropsychopharmacol. Biol. Psychiatry 32 (5): 1320–5. doi:10.1016/j.pnpbp.2008.04.010. PMID 18502014.
- Fray, Kathy: "Oh Baby...Birth, Babies & Motherhood Uncensored", pages 152-155, Random House NZ, 2005. ISBN 1-86941-713-5