Postpartum blues vs. postpartum depression

Do you just have the blues? Or is it depression?

Take a look at the signs and symptoms of each to help you talk to your doctor about how your feel.

Baby Blues

Onset: 3 days- 6 weeks
Statistics: Very common – 8 in 10 women

Physical symptoms

  • Drastic mood swings
  • Food cravings or loss of appetite
  • No energy
  • Lack of sleep

Emotional symptoms

  • Anxiety; worry; sadness
  • Confusion and nervousness
  • Not feeling yourself
  • Lack of confidence
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Irritability


  • Rest
  • Proper nutrition
  • Support from family, friends and other mothers

Postpartum Anxiety

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

  • Uncontrollable, excessive worry or anxiety
  • Restlessness; Insomnia
  • Fatigue
  • Irritabilty
  • Muscle Tension

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

  • Obsessive thoughts about harming the baby, yourself or others
  • Disturbing thoughts
  • Uncontrollable, repetitive, ritualistic behaviors (pulling out hair, sterilizing the same clean bottles 20 times a day)

Panic Disorder

  • Extreme anxiety
  • Chest pains; dizziness; sweating; shaking
  • Feelings of loss of control

Postpartum Depression

Onset: 6 weeks- 1 year
Statistics: Common – 1 in 10 women

Physical symptoms

  • Marked weight loss or gain
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Crying Spells
  • Withdrawal; despair; avoiding the baby
  • Numbness; chest pains; heart palpitations

Emotional symptoms

  • Feelings of inadequacy or powerlessness
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Feelings of shame, embarrassment and/or guilt
  • Fears or thoughts of harming the baby
  • Anger or no feelings towards the baby


  • Contact your medical professional
  • Counseling
  • Support from family, friends and other mothers

Severe Postpartum Depression

Onset: Can occur up to one year after childbirth
Statistics: Rare – 1 in 1,000 women


  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions – often religious
  • Irrational statements
  • Severe insomnia
  • Refusal to eat
  • Extreme anxiety and agitation
  • Suicidal or homicidal thoughts
  • Lack of attention to personal hygiene
  • Frantic, excessive energy
  • Avoidance of the baby


  • Contact your medical provider immediately
  • Same as postpartum depression