How you may be feeling

It's perfectly normal to feel a bit down after the birth. Around 70% of all new mums experience stress or worries, mild depression or tearfulness. It can happen at any time, but normally kicks in two to three days after the birth and can last for only a couple of hours or even up to a few days. Some people call this the 'baby blues'.

Emotional changes you may notice

Caring for a new baby can be exhausting. Poor sleep and worries about coping may upset your mood. You may feel really tired or generally not very well. You may cry for no particular reason and find it’s impossible to cheer up. Little things that you’d normally take in your stride suddenly seem like huge problems.

We don’t exactly know what causes these emotional changes but we do know it’s perfectly normal. There could be hormonal reasons. While you’re pregnant, your body produces lots of hormones to help your baby develop. After the birth, levels of these hormones drop while others, needed to produce milk, rise. This hormonal rollercoaster can easily lead to mood changes.

These feelings tend to pass by themselves but it's important to get extra support while they last. If they don't pass within a few days, do talk to your midwife or health visitor.  This is only one part of a range of emotional changes you might notice: some are mild and short lived but some may become more problematic like postnatal depression and anxiety. Your midwife or health visitor will help reassure you and help you get whatever supports are right for you.  

Helping new mums

New mums need someone to listen to them, help with the baby and provide support and reassurance. There’s lots you can do to help:

  • be ready to listen 
  • remind her that it is normal to feel ups and downs in your emotions at this time
  • make sure she isn’t overwhelmed by visitors
  • help with the baby
  • ask what she would find helpful and if there is anything you could help with
  • try and ensure she gets as much rest as possible.
Last Updated: 22 January 2018
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