More than the Baby Blues: When Parents Struggle, Help is Available – Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders

A woman struggling with postpartum depression holds baby

Postpartum Mood Disorders, are common and can impact the health of parents and family. It is estimated that one in six women and one in 10 men will experience postpartum depression or anxiety disorder.

Baby Blues

The majority of birthing parents will experience symptoms of baby blues in the weeks immediately following delivery. This is related to the sudden changes in hormones combined with changes in sleep patterns, fatigue, and other stresses. Symptoms may include feeling tearful, emotional, and overwhelmed. Baby blues usually begin several days following the birth of a baby and last up to 2 weeks.

Postpartum Mood Disorders

In the beginning, postpartum mood disorders might look like baby blues; however, the symptoms are more severe and do not improve after 2 weeks. Signs and symptoms of a postpartum mood disorder can include:

  • Feelings of anger and irritability
  • Withdrawal from or avoidance of care for baby, family members, or partner
  • Anxiety, worry, or fear that is preventing sleep, self-care, or care of the baby
  • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
  • Rapid mood swings or bizarre behavior
  • Thoughts of self-harm, suicide, or hurting the baby
  • Substance or alcohol used as a coping mechanism


Postpartum Mood Disorders are treatable and help and support is available. If you have concerns about your safety or the safety of your family members please contact a healthcare provider or seek an emergency evaluation.

The following are resources to find immediate help and connect with professionals for evaluation and treatment:

National Maternal Mental Health Hotline

Call or text, 1-833-9-HELP4MOMS (1-833-943-5746)
Free, confidential support, resources and referrals to any pregnant and postpartum mothers facing mental health challenges and their loved ones. The service is available via phone and text in English or Spanish.

Postpartum Support International

English: 1-800-944-4773, call or text | Español: 971-203-7773, text

Support is an essential component of prevention and improvement of mental health issues for parents. Postpartum Support International offers more than 20 different support groups that meet virtually.

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