Postnatal depression and the baby blues
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Giving birth is an emotional and tiring experience and your hormones change dramatically in the first few days. It’s around this time you may experience the ‘baby blues’.
You may feel teary, anxious and irritable and your mood can go up and down. Feeling teary can be worse if your labour was difficult, you are very tired or you have other worries, such as problems breastfeeding.
Pregnancy, Birth and Baby is a national Australian Government service providing support and information for expecting parents and parents of children, from birth to 5 years of age.
Mothers and depression
Pregnancy, birth and early parenthood are times of great change. Having a baby can be the biggest life change that you will ever have. It may be difficult to adjust to the day-to-day stress of caring for a new baby.
Depression and anxiety can occur at any time in your life, and can often come to the surface with a major event like pregnancy or having a baby. The risk is higher if you have been depressed in the past.
- Some women experience depression during pregnancy - antenatal depression. Around 12 per cent of pregnant women in Australia experience antenatal depression.
- Postnatal depression (PND) is depression that a woman experiences in the months after the birth of her baby. Postnatal depression affects almost 1 in 6 women in Australia (15%).
If you are concerned that you, or someone you know, has symptoms of depression talk with a doctor or health professional. It is important to seek help – the sooner the better.
Support and treatment are important. If antidepressant medication is needed, there are medications which are relatively safe and effective even for mothers who are breastfeeding.
Raising Children Network. Raising Children website is produced with the help of an extensive Australian network including the Australian Government.
Pregnancy, birth and baby Pregnancy, Birth and Baby is a national Australian Government service providing support and information for expecting parents and parents of children, from birth to 5 years of age.
Mental Health in Multicultural Australia Women who come to Australia from other countries may be isolated and even more at risk of postnatal depression. The Mental Health in Multicultural Australia website has information about depression and other mental health problems in many different languages.
Resources in South Australia
Parent Helpline 1300 364 100
Helen Mayo House - telephone 08 7087 1047
- runs inpatient and day patient services
- telephone helpline
- sends out reading material
- advises about other available services eg postnatal depression groups in the community
Fathers and depression
Some fathers may suffer depression after their baby is born
You will probably have highs and lows as a new father. However we know that up to 10% of fathers are depressed after their baby is born, but often they do not seek help. Men often do not talk about their feelings, so they may not know that many other fathers are also depressed.
There is information for fathers, and for their support people in the topic Fathers and depression after the birth of their baby.
The information on this site should not be used as an alternative to professional care. If you have a particular problem, see your doctor or midwife.