1. The “baby blues” and postpartum depression are not the same. “Baby blues” may refer to the common mood swings, sadness, irritability and anxiety that women can experience after pregnancy and giving birth. Postpartum depression is more severe, with symptoms often lasting longer than a few weeks.
2. Postpartum depression’s symptoms can include insomnia; loss of appetite; lowered libido; severe mood swings; withdrawal from everyday activities, family, and friends; intense feelings of shame or guilt; and difficulty bonding with the baby.
- It’s important for women who believe they may suffer from postpartum depression to contact their PGOMG provider immediately to discuss how they are feeling and whether intervention is needed.
3. Some women are actually more prone to experiencing postpartum depression. Women who have previous experience with depression, a family member with depression, who had a stressful pregnancy, or who experienced medical complications during delivery may be more susceptible to postpartum depression.
4. Hormones need time to settle after having a baby and adjusting to life with a newborn. Fluctuating hormones have been known to cause unexpected symptoms like shaking or a feeling of jitteriness.
5. Some women might tear while giving birth and may need stitches. Even if an episiotomy is not needed, minor tearing can occur during labor and require stitches. This is especially true for first pregnancies.
6. It’s normal to experience vaginal bleeding post-delivery, but women might not expect how much bleeding can occur. “Gushes” are common, especially after breastfeeding or after sitting or lying down for a long period of time. Bleeding can last for about four to six weeks after having a baby.
7. New moms are likely to experience postpartum hair loss because estrogen levels are coming down from their pregnancy high. This hair loss should not be significant, but postpartum women probably notice some loss in the weeks and months after giving birth.
8. Women might need or want help learning how to breastfeed. The process does not come easy for everyone, and that is perfectly okay. Also, the baby may not want to breastfeed without some coaxing from a nurse or lactation specialist.
9. Skin changes are normal in the weeks after pregnancy and giving birth. A common change in the skin around the face is a red rash around the mouth and chin area. Some women also experience very dry skin.
10. Incontinence is a common issue for new moms because childbirth can weaken pelvic floor muscles.
New moms should remember that although these symptoms are often unpleasant, they are also temporary and can be relieved with over-the-counter treatments most of the time. If symptoms persist or worsen, please contact a PGOMG provider.