Selected Podcast

More Than The Baby Blues: Understanding Postpartum Depression

Giving birth is a wonderful event in a woman’s life and everyone is ecstatic.

But why do some new moms feel low during such a happy time?

Eydie Edberg, women’s health nurse practitioner is here today to explain the term, “baby blues” and the differences and facts of postpartum depression.
More Than The Baby Blues: Understanding Postpartum Depression
Featured Speaker:
Eydie Edberg, CNP- OB/GYN
Eydie Edberg is a board-certified nurse practitioner specializing in obstetrics and gynecology at Allina Health Shakopee Clinic. Her professional interests include infertility, menopause and prenatal care.
More Than The Baby Blues: Understanding Postpartum Depression

Melanie Cole (Host):  You know, giving birth is such a wonderful event in a woman’s life and everybody’s always so happy about it.  But some new moms feel low during such a happy time and they feel something they can’t even quite describe.  Why do they feel that sometimes?  My guest today is Eydie Edberg.  She’s a board certified Nurse Practitioner specializing in obstetrics and gynecology at Allina Health Shakopee Clinic.  Welcome to the show, Eydie.  So, people hear about postpartum and sometimes the terrible things that mothers do and feel during that time.  But, there’s also sort of the more moderate baby blues.  Tell us the difference between these two. 

Eydie Edberg (Guest):  Well, thank you for the opportunity to speak on a very important subjectPregnancy is a wonderful time and an exciting time.  The baby blues tend to show up shortly after childbirth; soon, within a few days, and they usually last less than two weeks.  You can experience mood swings and some anxiety and feeling overwhelmed, just as a new mother who is not getting her sleep, normally feels.  Little change in appetite, all of these results, all these symptoms, are very short lived--usually less than two weeks.  If they progress to a longer time frame and seem to be lasting longer and are more severe, that’s when we get to the concern of post-partum depression versus baby blues, where often times you’ll hear of people hurting themselves and the infant or experiencing lack of interest in bonding with their infant.  These are things that should be talked about with another healthcare provider.

Melanie:  So, now what is postpartum anxiety and postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder?  These are two new terms that we don’t hear about a lot.

Eydie:  They are new terms and most of us hear about baby blues and postpartum depression. But, actually postpartum anxiety is more common that any of them.  The symptoms of postpartum anxiety are worrying all the time and persistent feelings of bad or harm is going to come and feeling restless with uncontrollable, racing thoughts.  But, again, a lot of these are symptoms of new parenting, so sometimes they not found out until later on in the year after delivery.  So, anytime a woman experiences changes that they are uncomfortable with, they should really talk with their healthcare provider.  Anybody can experience postpartum anxiety even if they haven’t had anxiety prior to pregnancy, where postpartum depression usually has some type of history with it.  I would guess about a very small amount experience the postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder changes.  That can actually happen in both men and woman and that tends to be a fear of your baby being exposed to germs.  So, you have excessive cleaning or you only want certain people to hold your infant or you’re always worried about threats to your infant and that’s a new change for you.  About three to five percent experience that and, again, men and women experience that and that’s a relatively new experience. Where post partum anxiety, probably 10 percent of people experience that, where baby blues is 70-80 percent. So, very common baby blues and postpartum depression, 20 percent of people.  So, there are many different emotional and physical changes that occur after delivery. 

Melanie:  Well, there certainly are and parents go through these range of emotions and as you so beautifully pointed out, men as well go through some of these changes.  What would you like to tell new parents?  We’ll get into some more postpartum depression in a little bit but what would you like to tell new parents?  Give them your best advice about dealing with some of these range of emotions.  Things they might be able to do, to not only prevent it but deal with these emotions as they crop up. 

Eydie:  Well, first of all, if you do have a history of depression prior to pregnancy, talk to your healthcare provider about that right away at your new OB visit so that you can plan ahead and be alert to those things.  Then you’ve already created the conversation so it’s easier to talk about it.  Still during this time, there still is a stigma with postpartum emotional changes.  So, if you opened it up when you’re not having symptoms, it’s easier to talk about when these symptoms may develop.  But as far as parenting goes, set realistic goals so that you don’t set yourself up doe disappointment and think about ways that you can support each other as you make the biggest changes of your life.  Make those plans prior to delivery, such as, think how you will have a date night, or how you will help your partner (male/female) whatever, get  that time to themselves that they need to restore and reenergize and take time to listen to your partner and to provide the support that she or he needs.  Try not to be shocked with changes in your routine and changes in who you are, because now you’re somebody--there’s a new normal.  You are different than you left work. You’re now a mother or father.  So, there’s body image changes, there’s the physical changes, there’s the emotional changes, there’s the self changes, a loss of self.  So, share those feelings with your partner, your family, your friends.  Talk with other mothers so that you can learn from their experiences.  Some people find support in a group setting but there are major life changes during pregnancy.

Melanie:  So, now what about --we don’t have a lot of time left, Eydie- -but, what about postpartum depression? When does it become so serious? And as you mentioned, mothers can do dastardly things to themselves or their infants or just feel so low that they don’t bond.  When does it become something that needs serious intervention and/or medication?

Eydie:  Well, you should call your provider if your baby blues don’t go away after two weeks or the symptoms become more intense.  There are medications, there are support options that will make a change and improve the quality of your life.  Some women don’t tell anyone. They feel embarrassed and ashamed or guilty, when they are supposed to be at a happy point in their life and they have a fear of being unfit.  So, stigma still remains, like I said earlier.  Don’t suffer.  You would not fail to treat diabetes, if you had it.  So, please get help and treatment and support for postpartum changes that you might experience.

Melanie:  So, in just the last few minutes here, again, please give your best advice and wrap this up about parents and this range of emotions and even some ways that people can help each other get through this and how long they can expect this.  Because, I mean, becoming a parent really is the biggest change in your life that you’ll ever experience.  So, give them hope that this is a wonderful thing and that those blues won’t last forever. 

Eydie:  Well, the blues are short-lived, so they should not last forever.  You might cry at the Hallmark commercial but that is normal.  If you can, get help from a grandparent so that you can get adequate sleep and rest. People do want to help, so ask neighbors, friends, family.  They really do want to help.  Others want to support and to help you, so rest as much as you can; concentrate on good nutrition and exercise; get out and breathe fresh air and talk with your healthcare provider if you have any concerns.

Melanie:  Thank you so much, Eydie.  You’re listening to The WELLcast with Allina Health.  For more information, you can go to  That’s  This is Melanie Cole.  Thanks so much for listening.