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Baby blues and postnatal depression

Feeling down after having a baby is known as the ‘baby blues’ and tends to happen between 3-5 days after the birth. New mothers can feel tearful and feel that they are not able to cope. This is due to changes in hormone levels along with being tired and feeling overwhelmed at times. The ‘baby blues’ lasts for only a few days but if the sad feelings persist for longer and don’t seem to be going away, it may be a sign of postnatal depression. Feeling tired and tearful, not sleeping well even when the baby is asleep, feeling anxious or not coping with everyday activities, having aches and pains, and thinking negative thoughts can be experienced by many women without postnatal depression, but when these feelings do not go away it is important to talk to your midwife or other health professional.

Whatever the situation, it is important to talk to someone you trust if you are feeling sad, scared, low, anxious or worried. Let your midwife know how you are feeling and she will listen to your concerns, answer your questions and refer you for further support if necessary.

Support groups and a range of other services are available throughout the country. A useful resource is the Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Aotearoa (PADA) website. It has information for pregnant women, new mothers, new fathers and families affected by depression or anxiety around pregnancy and a new baby. It also has a comprehensive list of support helplines and services.

If there is an immediate life-threatening danger to yourself or others, dial 111.