Postpartum Mood Disorders (PPMDs) include the following:
The postpartum pinks refer to a mild elation following the birth of a child that can last hours to days until a normal level of happiness returns.
Adapted with permission from the Best Start Resource Centre
Pregnancy, the birth of a baby or an adoption brings physical, emotional and social changes. Adjusting to the new roles and relationships is not always easy. Some women are unaffected while for others, the severity of the mood disorder varies from the normal baby blues to the medical emergency postpartum psychosis.
The baby blues are normal and very common. Up to 75% of women may experience them.
The baby blues are characterized by:
These feelings may happen in the first few days after the baby is born and can last hours to days. They usually pass within 1 to 2 weeks. Taking care of yourself and asking for support from family and friends can be helpful, but generally no further treatment is necessary.
Postpartum depression is a depression that begins within the first year after you have a baby.
Sometimes the baby blues don’t go away and instead may spiral right into postpartum depression. Other times, the baby blues go away and symptoms of postpartum depression occur later during your baby’s first year.
Postpartum depression can last weeks to months. Early detection and treatment is the key to recovery. It is treatable and help is available for you and your family.
The causes are not completely understood. Some factors may be:
If you are experiencing Postpartum Depression you may:
Have you had any of the above symptoms for more than two weeks? Don’t wait. There is help available. Where Can I Get Help is a list of community supports for you and your family.
Life with a new baby is stressful for fathers/partners as well, especially if the mother becomes depressed.
Dads/Partners need to look after themselves and should ask for help as soon as they feel depressed or anxious too.
For more information, go to the Fathers section of our website. For helpful videos and information visit 24 Hour Cribside Assistance, a site for dads, by dads.
Postpartum psychosis is a medical emergency. Get help right away:
With postpartum psychosis, the mother may:
If you have questions or concerns about your baby, speak with your doctor, midwife or nurse practitioner.
Remember: There is help and you will recover.
Where Can I Get Help
Community Resources for Parents
Life with a New Baby Is Not Always What You Expect
The Mental Health Crisis Line of Grey Bruce
Interventions for Postpartum Depression Best Practice Guideline (2005). Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO).
Life with a new baby is not always what you expect. Best Start Resource Centre.
Postpartum Mood Disorder Project. Northeastern PPMD Strategy.
Postpartum Depression and Anxiety. Toronto Public Health.
Share this page