Up to 70% of women experience “baby blues” in the days following giving birth, and this tends to resolve spontaneously.

Postnatal depression appears similar to depression arising at other periods of life and encompass a range of symptoms.

Up to 70% of new mothers experience what is known as “baby blues”. This involves a brief period of low mood arising in the two weeks following birth. It most commonly emerges a few days after delivery and tends to resolve after a few days.  

Postnatal depression is understood to affect 10-15% of new mothers. It usually emerges later than baby blues and appears similar to depression arising at other times in life. Postnatal depression may vary in severity and may include: unpleasant emotions such as low mood, guilt and irritability; negative beliefs about herself, her abilities as a parent, others, or the world; a sense of hopelessness about the future; and changes to appetite or sleep.

It can be difficult to identify where disturbed sleep is attributable to postnatal depression rather than the baby’s sleeping regime, so some detailed discussion about how mother and baby’s sleeping habits coincide can be helpful to determine whether this is a problem.