Let's talk about postpartum mood disorders

Let's Talk About Postpartum Mood Disorders

We are very passionate about mental health here at East Tennessee Doulas. We have personally experienced and seen in our clients the “baby blues”, depression, and anxiety after babies. We want to bring awareness to the isolating factors that can be brought on by motherhood.

The newborn phase is a great time to bond and enjoy your baby, however the late night feedings and fear of bringing them outside the home can make a mom feel more alone. What can contribute to this is when you are already feeling alone, add frustration of learning to breastfeed, and sleepless nights and you start going down the road to postpartum mood disorders.

Postpartum Mood Disorders consist of Baby Blues, Postpartum Depression, Postpartum Anxiety/postpartum O.C.D , Disorder Milk Ejection Reflex, and Postpartum Psychosis.

Baby Blues

Baby blues affects your mood usually in the first two weeks of giving birth, you start to notice a difference and get back to your normal thought process shortly after that. When you have baby blues you may find yourself crying out of nowhere for no reason. Most mamas will experience baby blues, it is normal and is only temporary.

Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Depression affects your mind and your mood. Postpartum Depression is one of the most talked about disorders in perinatal moms. It typically shows up around 2-3 months postpartum but it can rear its ugly head shortly after baby is born. Signs of postpartum depression can include; sadness that lingers, not looking forward to anything, not wanting to leave your home because you feel so isolated, or feeling like you want to harm yourself or someone else. Intrusive thoughts that come and won’t leave can be a big warning sign for postpartum depression.

Postpartum Anxiety or O.C.D

Anxiety or Postpartum O.C.D(obsessive compulsive disorder) affects your body, mind, and baby. The anxiety can be coupled with depression or you can have it separate from other mood disorders. Signs of postpartum anxiety may include possessive attitude with your baby, fear something bad could happen to your baby, Difficulty bonding with your baby, difficulty sleeping, fear of being alone with the baby, difficulty eating, unnecessary anger toward loved ones or others around you. It is very normal for a mom with postpartum anxiety to feel that she is going crazy.

Postpartum Psychosis

Postpartum Psychosis can come from a previous psychotic episode, personal or family history of bipolar disorder. P.P.P can cause Hallucinations, make the mother see/hear things that are not real. It can make the mother feel very irritated and hyper. Everything the mother is envisioning and hallucinating feels incredibly real to her. But it is in fact a break from reality. If you or a loved one is showing signs of postpartum psychosis immediately seek a doctor.


Lactating females may experience Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex ( D.M.E.R) occurs right before "let down" takes place. It comes on very quickly and leaves around 2 mins after it occurred. It can happen only once before the first let down, or can continue to happen for every let down. D.M.E.R has nothing to do with the nipple being pulled or sensation of touch. The mother can not control this occurrence. The dysphoria only occurs when the ejection reflex is triggered. The science behind the cause of D.M.E.R is when the hormone dopamine drops dramatically. In physiological not dysphoric milk ejection reflex, the rise in the hormone Oxycontin occurs to bring on the "let down". In D.M.E.R the dysphoria occurs because dopamine drops too low too quickly. The hormone Dopamine needs to drop for Prolactin levels to rise to create the milk. However D.M.E.R is the result of the Dopamine to drop inappropriately. To care for this disorder we recommend you talk with your physician, as well as making small lifestyle changes can help reduce the intensity. If you are able to reduce the intensity with lifestyle changes medication may not be necessary. If your D.M.E.R is severe you may need to start a medication that raises your dopamine levels. Again, please ask your care provider.

Life Style Changes to Reduce Risk/ Intensity

We recommend you start with small changes first. Changes like reduce your caffeine intake, less sugar in your diet. Take some time for self care. Whether that be taking a bath with some candles, or getting a massage, acupuncture, or chiropractic care many of these suggestions can help your hormone levels stabilize. Try diffusing some essential oils. For more information on Reducing Risk of mood disorders/Intensity please check out our other blog here.

Talk with your Care Provider

We recommend that you speak with your care provider if you think you are experiencing any of these symptoms, be honest with them and get the help that you need!