postpartum blues

Last reviewed 01/2018

Postpartum blues is a mild and transient disturbance in mood occurring between the 3rd and 6th day after delivery. Estimates of incidence vary between 50-70%, and it is more common in primiparae.

Usual features include crying, fatigue, sensitivity to criticism, anxiety, irritability, helplessness and lability of mood. Symptoms last from few hours to a few days.

There are many causes, including:

  • physical discomfort
  • the emotional drain of the delivery
  • lack of sleep
  • anxiety about the ability to cope in the future
  • the fear of diminished attractiveness to the partner
  • poor relationship with the father
  • an unwanted baby

It is a short-lived syndrome which requires support rather than pharmacological treatment.