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Education, support and advocacy for birth and wellness choices across Hawai'i

Baby Blues & Postpartum Depression

Is the baby moon sliding into the baby blues?

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of prenatal or postpartum mood or anxiety disorder, know that it is treatable. There is someone in your area who can help you if you are experiencing any of the following: depressed, irritable, exhausted, unlike yourself, sadness, anger, guilt, worry, feelings of inadequacy.  

The following is not meant to be a diagnostic tool, but rather a way for new mothers and their support persons to recognize their feelings and to be empowered to take action if they need help. 

Baby Blues

Wise Woman Saying: 'when the milk starts to flow so do the tears'  

Common between day 4 and 12 Postpartum.  Around 1 in 4 mothers will experience mood swings  during this important period of recovery and adjustment.  
  • These emotions can feel very intense and are linked directly with having enough nourishment, staying hydrated, adequate rest and support.  A new mother should stay in bed and care for her self and her baby and be relieved of all household chores and additional responsibilities for at least the first two weeks while she recovers and sleeps whenever her baby is sleeping!  Stay "On Baby Time"!
  • Fathers and co-parents or support can help by taking baby after feedings to burp them keep them upright for 20 to 30 minutes after feeding to minimize spit-ups.  Holding baby directly on your chest skin-on-skin is a way to form a strong bond and get them used to your smell and to keep them warm and feeling secure.    

Postpartum Depression (PPD)

Can happen anytime from Day 12 to 18 months after birth when a mother gets depleted. 

  • If she is not getting the nourishment or fluids she needs to provide for her nursing baby and herself
  • If she is not getting enough sleep
  • If she feels lonely and does not have enough interaction with friends, peers or loved ones 
  • If she has experiences to much external pressures that make it feel difficult to care for herself and her newborn

She may  experience feelings of restless, worthlessness, guilt, irritability, depression, excessive crying, no energy, headaches, chest pains, trouble sleeping, weight flux, trouble focusing, decision making, overly worrying about baby, lack of interest in infant, being afraid of hurting baby or self.

When a woman’s ability to function is affected, she needs to seek help!

    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

    • Many women are wrongly diagnosed with PPD. Medications for PPD will not work for PTSD.
    • Sometimes giving birth can be a traumatic experience 
    • Signs that a woman may be experiencing PTSD include flashbacks, nightmares, panic attacks, numbed emotions, sleeping difficulties, problems with concentration, irritability or anger.

    Postpartum Psychosis

    • Very serious mental illness.
    • Can happen quickly, often within 3 months of birth.
    • Woman can loose touch with reality, experience auditory hallucinations & delusions, insomnia, feeling agitated and angry, strange feelings and behaviors.
    • Women who have postpartum psychosis require someone else to seek the treatment they need right away!!

    Additional Resources at

    Education, Support, and Advocacy for Birth and Wellness Choices Across Hawai'i

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    Updated 9-1-22

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