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Postnatal Blues

Your baby has arrived but instead of feeling happy, you feel sad, irritable and even angry at times. Why are you feeling down instead?

Don’t fret: these feelings are normal for many women — about 50-80% of women experience the postpartum blues AKA the baby blues after giving birth.

The baby blues generally appear within 2 weeks of a baby’s delivery. The good news is that the condition is generally short-lived, wearing off after days to 2 weeks. If you experience it, don’t beat yourself up — the baby blues is not a psychiatric illness and should not be viewed as your character flaw.

What Causes the Baby Blues?

Hormone changes from the rollercoaster ride of pregnancy and labour are considered to be one of the main causes. In addition, the demands of dealing with the baby (and sometimes with other family members or nanny) while managing daily tasks, trying to establish a routine, and visits from relatives and friends adds to the stress of the new mum.


  • Mood swings

  • Anxiety

  • Sadness

  • Tearfulness

  • A sense of hopelessness or feeling overwhelmed

  • Irritability

  • Inability to concentrate

  • Trouble sleeping

Can Anything Be Done to Manage It?

Unfortunately, you can’t prevent the hormonal changes that contribute to the baby blues but you can help to recover faster.

  • Ask for support from close family members or friends to manage daily household chores or even to look after your new baby for a while, so that you can get as much sleep or exercise that you need

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet so that your body gets the best nutrition

  • Have some “me time” to relax and unwind from the stress of dealing with the new addition to the family and the changes. Go for a walk, do your hair or nails, or read a book in a garden

  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can worsen mood swings

  • Check in with your doctor if you’re worried about your symptoms

  • Talk about your challenges with your friends or join a support group of new mothers

What If Your Symptoms Last for More Than 2 Weeks?

If any of your depressive symptoms persist for longer than 2 weeks, or if you start feeling that life isn’t worth living, or thinking of hurting yourself or baby, see your doctor immediately. It’s important to get help as soon as possible because your baby blues can develop into postnatal depression or more rarely, postnatal psychosis, which usually require medication.


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