Mental Health

Identifying postpartum depression and the baby blues

Motherhood is often depicted as a uniquely positive experience. The normal effects brought on by the arrival of a baby are therefore often confused with symptoms of postpartum depression. It is very important to be informed, that way you can tell what is normal or not and act quickly when needed. Postpartum depression can affect the parent-child emotional bond, which can, in turn, affect a baby’s development.

Postpartum depression explained 

Postpartum depression is characterized by depressive symptoms that last for over two weeks and interfere with day-to-day activities. 

Causes of postpartum depression can be physiological (hormonal and/or chemical imbalance in the brain) or related to one’s environment. Indeed, certain risk factors can make some mothers prone to developing postpartum depression:

  • Stressful events experienced recently
  • Insufficient support from one’s partner 
  • Feelings of being overwhelmed
  • Unequal distribution of tasks

Baby blues explained

Eighty percent of women experience baby blues characterized by a temporary state linked to the significant hormonal drop that occurs following childbirth. The sudden increase in stress and lack of sleep may also affect the intensity of a mother’s baby blues.

Symptoms last anywhere from a few hours to 15 days and go away on their own.

Taking a walk outside, enjoying some skin-to-skin time with baby, talking about one’s feelings, getting rest, crying it out without trying to understand why: these are all things that can help a mom’s mood.


Twenty-five percent of fathers and 41% of mothers experience depressive symptoms 3 to 6 months after the birth of a baby. 

Baby blues Postpartum depression
  • Anxiety 
  • Vulnerability 
  • Mood swings 
  • Desire to cry

* Symptoms last between 2 days and 2 weeks and are relatively mild.

  • Profound sadness without apparent reason 
  • Mood swings 
  • Uncontrollable crying 
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia 
  • Changes in appetite 
  • Irritability 
  • Anger 
  • Aches and back pain 
  • Extreme fatigue and permanent exhaustion 
  • A lack of interest in one’s baby, or, contrarily, disproportionate worry or fear about the baby 
  • Feelings of not being a good mother and of being incapable of taking care of one’s baby 
  • Feelings of inadequacy in creating a sentimental bond with one’s baby 
  • Fear of death 
  • Guilt 
  • Feelings of worthlessness, lowered self-esteem 
  • Anxiety or panic
  • Loss of interest and pleasure in usually pleasurable activities 
  • Agitation or psychomotor retardation, i.e., generalized slowing of movements and/or speech
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Terrifying thoughts, such as harming one’s baby 
  • Suicidal thoughts 
  • If you are experiencing one of the last two symptoms, reach out without delay to Info-Santé (8-1-1), the LigneParents parents’ hotline (1-800-361-5085) or call 9-1-1.

If your symptoms become overwhelming and crippling, quickly consult a doctor or psychologist.

* Symptoms last longer than 2 weeks and interfere with day-to-day activities.

It is also possible for men to experience postpartum depression, but the way they express their distress can be different:

  • Aggressivity
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Headaches
  • Stomach aches
  • Taking refuge in work or in sports
  • Excessive alcohol or drug use

How to treat postpartum depression 

In and of itself, becoming a parent can be a bewildering experience. Suffering from postpartum depression does not make you a bad mother. You are doing your best. With adequate support, postpartum depression can be healed, ( and family life can be enjoyed to the fullest.

  • Antidepressants 

A majority of antidepressants allow mothers to continue breastfeeding without any problems. Nonetheless, it is essential to consult your doctor or pharmacist before and during any medication therapy against depression. Antidepressants can help to alleviate several symptoms, but they do not eliminate the intrusive and anxious thoughts that stir up a person’s depressed state. It is therefore strongly recommended that antidepressants be combined with psychotherapy. (

  • Psychotherapy 

Like with all forms of depression, engaging the help of a qualified professional and committing to the process can foster significant healing. There are different types of psychotherapy. 

  • Support groups

Connecting with parents who are experiencing a situation similar to yours can be a significant and positive part of your healing process.

    • Taking care of oneself
    • Do not hesitate to ask for help from loved ones or an organization
    • Stay active, as this can help with managing mood and stress
    • Get sufficient sleep
    • Eat sufficiently and healthfully 
    • Spend time doing activities you enjoy, even if you don’t feel like it
    • Practice meditation, yoga, breathing exercises and mindfulness to help you relax
    • Spend time with people that you love, as isolation only spurs depression-related symptoms. 

When to reach out for help

Seeing as multiple factors are potentially capable of causing postpartum depression, it can occur at any time during the 12 months following the birth of a baby.

If your symptoms persist for longer than two weeks and prevent you from performing your day-to-day activities or taking care of your baby, consult with a doctor or a psychologist without delay. If needed, please know that your pharmacist is accessible seven days a week, there to listen to you and offer advice. 

Promptly call Info-Santé (8-1-1), the LigneParents parents’ hotline (1-800-361-5085) or 9-1-1:

  • If you fear causing harm to yourself or your baby
  • If you are having suicidal thoughts
  • If your symptoms become overwhelming and/or crippling

For further information and to get support, speak with your pharmacist or healthcare professional.

This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and pharmacist-owners affiliated with Accès pharma chez Walmart cannot be held responsible for this information. The information was true and accurate at the time of publication, but it is subject to change. 

Latest articles

Subscribe to your Accès pharma pharmacist's newsletter

Subscribe to your pharmacist's newsletter to take advantage of his advice and offers.