You have just delivered your bundle of joy. People around you are exuberant. You and your baby are getting showered with blessings, love, and gifts. The atmosphere is that of cheerfulness and celebration. Looking at your baby, it suddenly hits you – Aww! I feel no happiness or joy. Instead, I feel empty, blank, and anxious. If you are feeling so, do not be alarmed! This feeling of detachment from the baby is a type of mood disorder commonly experienced by new moms.  In fact, it is estimated that 1 in 5 women develop such mental health problems during pregnancy or postpartum.

Here in this blog, we help you identify the 5 most common postpartum mental health problems that every new mom must know. Also, we unravel some simple steps to overcome this common mental distress of first-time mommies. Read on…

5 Common Post-Partum Mental Health Problems Every New Mom Should Know 

Some of the most common postpartum mental health problems that newly moms have been generally noticed to deal with are enlisted below:

1. Mood swings

Also known as “baby blues” or “maternity blues”, post-partum mood swings is a phase of emotional instability following childbirth. You may feel irritable, confused, and anxious. You will feel like crying at the drop of a hat. On the other hand, you may also feel extremely happy for the first few days after your baby is born. These “baby blues” are seen commonly in new moms. The symptoms arise within the first 10 days and peak around 3-5 days. As per studies, hormonal changes and the stress you undergo after delivery are to be blamed for the occurrence of post-partum blues. 

How to deal with it: Don’t shy away from asking for support from your friends and family. If your “baby blues” last longer than two weeks after delivery, talk to your healthcare provider. 

2. General Anxiety

It is normal to worry about your little one as a new mother. However, worrying to the extent that you are unable to cope with your feelings can indicate anxiety. Anxiety is your body’s response to stress. You may be fearful that something will happen to your baby. As a new mom, it is easy to feel such things as you are in a vulnerable state, both mentally and physically. Apprehensions such as “I won’t be a good mother”, or “Do I have enough money to take care of my child’s needs” may act as triggers for anxiety. 

How to deal with it: Keep track of your feelings. If you start getting overwhelmed or anxious thoughts start affecting your day-to-day life, it may be time to speak to your provider and look for a solution.  

3. Post-partum depression

A feeling of sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness post-delivery lasting longer than 2 weeks can indicate post-partum depression. It is a serious mental illness. You will feel disconnected from your baby or may not feel like caring or loving your baby. Many times for fear of getting judged or out of embarrassment, new mothers do not tell anyone about these feelings. Hormonal changes can trigger symptoms of post-partum depression. If you have a family history of depression or a history of anxiety, you are more likely to have post-partum depression. A few symptoms of post-partum depression include:

  • Severe mood swings or panic attacks
  • Frequent crying episodes
  • Unable to bond with baby
  • Loss of appetite
  • Poor sleep
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Fear that you are not a good mother
  • Loss of interest in activities that you enjoyed earlier
  • Restlessness 
  • Suicidal thoughts 

How to deal with it: You should understand that it is normal to feel depressed after delivery and it is a treatable condition. It is not something to be ashamed of or hide from people. Share your feelings with your family and friends. Reassurance and emotional support from them will help boost your self-esteem and confidence. In moderate to severe depression, medications become a necessity. Consult your provider regarding the safety and use of these medications. 

4. Post-partum OCD

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) that occurs after childbirth is known as a post-partum obsessive-compulsive disorder. If you were already having OCD before pregnancy, then the obsessions and compulsions may worsen during this time. In this condition, the new mother has a fear of harm coming to the newborn infant. These fears go beyond the normal anxiety involved with having a newborn baby. You may fear contaminating the baby, dropping the baby, or accidentally assaulting the baby. You may feel you are not a good mother. Obsessions include repeatedly washing the baby, checking on the baby several times, needing repeated reassurances, or avoiding the baby completely. 

How to deal with it: Do not be afraid to share what you are feeling for fear of getting judged. Treatments such as cognitive-behavior therapy and the use of Serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) medicine can help you deal with post-partum OCD. 

5. Post-partum psychosis

Post-partum psychosis is a serious mental disorder where you lose the sense of reality post-childbirth. Although a rare condition, it requires immediate medical attention. A new mother experiencing post-partum psychosis shows symptoms such as hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, insomnia, and delusions and may even end up harming her baby. Having a history of mental disorders illness raises the likelihood of suffering from this condition. 

How to deal with it: Call your provider immediately if you notice that you or your loved one is showing symptoms. Your provider will prescribe medications to treat the condition. Ask your doctor about support groups that share a similar journey and how they overcame their condition. 
Having said this, it is not necessary that all new mothers suffer from mental health problems post-childbirth. However, pregnancy and childbirth can bring a range of emotions for a woman. It is normal to feel depressed or anxious after your baby is born- they are just medical conditions that need proper medical care. 

If you want to get personalized medical advice but you are not sure to visit a clinic, then you can Consult a Psychologist online, anytime, at your convenience, and get your queries answered in minutes. 

Recently Answered Questions Related to Postpartum Health and Mental Wellbeing

About the Author

Neha Garg

Neha Garg is a clinical dietician and health writer with an outstanding academic and clinical background. A post-graduate from the prestigious Lady Irwin College, she was also a Delhi University topper. With a work experience spanning more than a decade, she has worked for renowned healthcare organizations such as Indraprastha Apollo Hospital and HealthifyMe. An avid reader and health enthusiast, she also develops customized diet plans along with personal diet consultations. Presently, she is working with EbixCash as a senior medical writer.

2 + 2 + 3 =

Recent Questions