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How can I tell if it's baby blues or depression?

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Between five and eight mums out of every ten suffer from what's commonly called the baby blues. They are thought to be linked to hormonal changes you experience from two to four days after giving birth, and they can last up to a few weeks after delivery.
 
You may find yourself feeling a little down, unable to focus, lacking an appetite, having a hard time getting to sleep and generally feeling exhausted. The reality of what parenthood entails may have you feeling overwhelmed. You may feel isolated and emotionally fragile. This is a normal part of having a baby. This is not by any means, saying that you should minimize what you are feeling. Just remember that you are not strange or abnormal and the feelings should soon pass.

Make an appointment with your doctor, if you are still feeling the baby blues strongly after a few weeks. You could be suffering from post-partum depression. Post-partum depression is a serious illness affecting approximately ten percent of new mums. It causes profound feelings of anger or sadness, with a strong sense of guilt, extreme fatigue and panic attacks for months after childbirth. There are other symptoms of post-partum depression that are similar to the baby blues (loss of appetite, inability to sleep, etc.), but with true depression you may find your mind going to a darker place, possibly with thoughts of harming the baby or yourself.
 
The only way to ascertain whether it's really just baby blues or the more serious post-partum depression is to make an appointment with your doctor. It is good to remember that many women have been there and that effective treatments are available. Asking for help may seem frightening, but there's no need to feel ashamed. Reaching out for help is one of the strongest and bravest things you can do for both yourself and for your baby.
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The information contained on MummyPages is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis or treatment by a qualified medical professional. If in doubt, always consult your doctor.