Baby Blues: Causes and Treatment

Around 80% of women experience a condition that affects their mental health after childbirth, primarily postpartum depression. However, there's a milder form affecting 10% to 20% of cases, known as postpartum blues or baby blues. In this article, I'll discuss postpartum blues, its causes, duration, and the best ways to address it.

dr karen.webp
Karine Chahda
Published on:Jan 2nd 2024 |Updated on:Jun 10th 2024
أسباب وعلاج كآبة النفاس

What is Baby Blues?

Postpartum blues, or baby blues, is a condition characterized by feelings of sadness, down, stress, and anxiety that mothers go through in the early weeks after childbirth. Typically, these blues start around the second day after delivery and last a few weeks after the baby's birth.


  • Mood swings.
  • Irritability.
  • Stress and anxiety.
  • Feeling down or sad.
  • Difficulty sleeping, even when the newborn is sleeping.
  • Sudden crying.

Causes of Postpartum Blues

The exact causes of postpartum blues are not clear, but experts believe it's due to a combination of physical and psychological changes that occur in women after childbirth. Some of the key reasons include:

Physical Changes

  • Significant fluctuations in hormone levels, particularly a rapid decline in estrogen and progesterone within the first 24 hours after childbirth, similar to hormonal changes leading to PMS.
  • Elevated levels of prolactin (the milk-producing hormone) are associated with breast pain.
  • Physical pain from childbirth, whether it's a cesarean section or a natural delivery with perineal tearing.

Psychological Factors

  • The challenging experience of childbirth itself can lead to trauma, causing postpartum blues.
  • Alterations in a woman's self-image due to various physical changes during pregnancy, such as weight gain, stretch marks, sagging, and breast changes.
  • Stress from the increased responsibilities of caring for a newborn.
  • Unrealistic expectations about the baby's appearance and living with the image of an “imaginary baby” for nine months.
  • If the baby has health issues or congenital abnormalities.

Diagnosing Postpartum Blues

A mental health or obstetrics specialist typically makes a diagnosis. The birthing team, including nurses and midwives, is trained to observe signs of postpartum blues and promptly refer the mother to specialists. The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale is a helpful tool for diagnosis, ideally completed by the mother about a week after childbirth.

Risk Factors

  • Women who experienced severe symptoms in the premenstrual period.
  • Those with a history of depression or other psychological disorders.
  • Women with close relatives suffering from depression or anxiety disorders.


  • Addressing stressors and feelings of sadness by sharing responsibilities and seeking help from the husband, family, and friends.
  • Ensuring sufficient sleep by enlisting the support of the husband or family members to care for the baby at night.
  • Joining a support group with experienced mothers or those currently experiencing postpartum blues.
  • Seeking help from a mental health professional if symptoms persist after two weeks, escalate, or if the mother experiences suicidal thoughts or desires to harm herself or the child.

The Role of the Husband

The husband must be aware of the possibility of their spouse experiencing this condition. This involves participating in prenatal and childbirth classes, being prepared to offer assistance, being a good listener, and encouraging open expression of feelings without judgment.

Final Thoughts

The mental health of pregnant and postpartum women is of utmost importance. It directly impacts the physical health of women, their role as mothers, and the family's overall stability. Therefore, it's essential not to ignore any psychological symptoms reported by women after childbirth, to provide support, and to seek professional help promptly.

Find out more about Post c-section dos and don’ts

dr karen.webp
Karine ChahdaMidwife Nurse

A new mom and Licenced Midwife, she holds a degree from the Lebanese University. Karine worked in the NICU unit at St. George University Hospital in Beirut. Then, she worked as a Midwife in the same hospital for five years. She joined the maternity ward at Danat Al Emarat Hospital in Abu Dhabi in 2021. Karine has a great passion for her role as a Midwife; she believes it is a blessing from God to witness the miracle of life born from another life. She thinks nothing is more beautiful than witnessing this miracle daily through her work. Karine believes that each of us has a specific role in life. She sees her role not as a job but as a vocation where she can assist others, and she is grateful for this blessing.

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