Most women experience heightened emotions in the early days following baby’s birth. “A new mum may feel sad and tearful, even though she logically thinks about how happy she is to have a baby. She may get upset over trivial things that may not have affected her previously,” notes clinical psychologist Shona Lowes.
“For many women, these feelings pass. However, if they persist for more than two weeks, then it is more likely to be postnatal depression rather than just ‘the baby blues’.”
Postnatal depression often starts within the first two months after the baby is born, but it can also start after several months. Sometimes, the symptoms may have begun during pregnancy and persist after the baby is born.
It is characterised by:
Feeling low: Lethargy, moodiness, insomnia.
Anxiety: Increased heart rate, muscle tension, rapid breathing, feeling hot, headaches.
“It is important to identify postnatal depression so that the afflicted woman is given support and therapy, if needed,” Lowes advises. “If postnatal depression persists, it can affect how the woman feels about her baby and can interfere with the bonding process between mother and baby.”
About 10 per cent of women suffer from postnatal depression. If you have the blues or just need a listening ear, here’s help:
KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, make an appointment with 6294-4050 or make an online appointment
ComCare call 1800-222-0000 — the operator will recommend the nearest Family Service Centre to your postcode
Aware helpline 1800-774-5935 (3pm to 9.30pm).