Baby Blues and Postnatal depression

There is a seven fold increased risk of depressive illness in the first 30 days following childbirth.

Baby Blues

Up to 3/4 of new mothers will experience a short-lived period of tearfulness and emotional lability 2-4 days after birth and lasting 1-2 days.  It is commonly recognised by midwives and only requires reassuring support.  It is thought that hormonal changes may play a role (in contrast with PND).  Only 10% of these women could go on to develop PND.

Post natal depression

A severe depressive episode, commonly concerned with the baby’s well-being and the mother’s ability to cope.  Most cases last <1 month but 4% last longer than 1 year.  The risk is greatly increased if a first-degree relative has been affected (the aetiology is not hormonal).  Treatment is as depression (care with prescribing during lactation).  Hospital admission may be indicated if there has been an indication of possible harm to self or baby.

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