5 Common Signs of Postpartum Depression

Posted on: 30 March 2023

Many mothers will experience feelings of sadness for the first few days after giving birth, a condition known as the 'baby blues'. However, symptoms can sometimes be more intense and last longer, ultimately interfering with your ability to care for your new baby.

This is known as postpartum depression, and it can often develop within the first weeks after giving birth. Though unpleasant, it is a condition that can be treated. Knowing the signs in advance will allow you to see your obstetrician as soon as possible to receive the help you need, so here are just five common symptoms.

1. Low Mood 

Unsurprisingly, the most common symptom of postpartum depression is a persistent low mood. You may find yourself feeling depressed or hopeless for long periods. You may also cry frequently. Suffering from severe mood swings is common, so you may find yourself switching between feeling fine and feeling extremely depressed. Such emotions are often associated with feelings of guilt, shame, or worthlessness around your ability to be a good mother.

2. Severe Anxiety

Postpartum anxiety can be a separate issue from postpartum depression, but they are often associated. While feeling worried or tense can be perfectly normal for new mothers, you may also experience severe anxiety that won't go away and may start to affect your physical health. New mothers with postpartum depression can also experience panic attacks, which can feel overwhelming and leave them shaken and disorientated.

3. Trouble Thinking Clearly

It's common to feel mentally worn out after giving birth, but this feeling should dissipate relatively soon. However, mothers suffering from postpartum depression often find themselves unable to think clearly. It may take a long time to make decisions, or you may find yourself needing to concentrate hard to perform relatively simple tasks.

4. Difficulty Bonding 

One of the most troubling symptoms of postpartum depression is an inability or reluctance to bond with your baby. Such feelings can naturally feed into fears over your ability to be a good mother, which can often form a vicious circle. In some cases, you will also find it harder to interact with your family and friends, with the temptation to withdraw sometimes feeling overwhelming.

5. Sleep Issues

Just like other forms of depression, postpartum depression often interferes with your ability to maintain a proper sleep cycle. It's common for mothers suffering from this condition to either sleep too much or find it impossible to get to sleep, no matter how tired they feel. Such symptoms are often associated with a loss of energy or an overwhelming sense of fatigue.

Speak to an obstetrician to learn more.