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on psychiatry and psychology

Baby Blues

Abstract: Why do some women get depressed after birth of a baby? What is postpartum depression? Why do I have "baby blues"?

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Baby Blues

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Question(s): 
Written by: Martin Winkler
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 01 Aug 2008.

Why do some women get depressed after birth of a baby? What is postpartum depression? Why do I have baby blues?

Answer:

The birth of a baby is a wonderful and joyous occasion. But it can also be the origin of a severe depressive mood, known as "baby blues". There can be a lot of important factors, that might cause these affective disturbances. The most important factor is a massive change of hormones. After delivery of the baby there is a 40000 fold decrease of estrogen levels. There is also a massive change of progesterone and a rise of hormones that induce the production of breast milk.

These hormones also influence affective changes. So one possible way to get a good treatment of postpartum depression is a short course of hormone replacement therapy. Specialists prescribe a mixture of estrogen and progesterone to stop post-partum depression.

The depressive state can stop without any special treatment if you have no predisposition for affective disorders. This might take three to six months. Within this time the hormone balance returns to normal

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