Becoming a new mum, whether it’s your first, second or third time can be exciting and nerve-wracking all at the same time. During pregnancy and after childbirth, your body goes through quite a few physical, emotional and hormonal adjustments, and many women’s expectations of being a capable and happy mother can change to feelings of unhappiness as the reality of exhaustion, irritability, stress, low mood and sleep deprivation begin to take effect.

Postnatal low mood

Many women feel confused and uncomfortable about experiencing sadness or low mood after childbirth, after all, isn’t having a baby all about being happy and content? Not so for 1 in 7 new Australian mothers each year. Ongoing low mood following childbirth is quite different to the ‘baby blues’ which affects 8 in 10 Australian women each year. The ‘baby blues’ is a mild and short-lived mood disturbance where you may feel anxious or weepy between the third and fifth day following childbirth.

Postnatal low mood is quite different to the ‘baby blues’ and may start anywhere from 2 weeks to 1 year after childbirth, taking many new mothers and their families by surprise. Postnatal low mood can affect women in many different ways, although the combination of hormonal influences and increased stress levels in conjunction with possible nutritional deficiencies during pregnancy and breastfeeding have been implicated.

Signs & symptoms postnatal low mood

Signs and symptoms to look out for can be many and varied. If you think you have been experiencing any of these symptoms for a period of two weeks or longer, seek help from your healthcare practitioner. Early intervention leads to a faster resolution, helping to reduce the amount of time you suffer from postnatal low mood. Signs and symptoms may include:

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