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Postnatal depression can affect women in different ways. It can start at any point in the first year after giving birth and may develop suddenly or gradually.
Many women feel a bit down, tearful or anxious in the first week after giving birth. This is often called the "baby blues" and is so common that it’s considered normal. The "baby blues" don’t last for more than two weeks after giving birth.
If your symptoms last longer or start later, you could have postnatal depression.
The main symptoms include:
These symptoms can affect your day-to-day life and your relationships with your baby, family and friends.
If you think you may be depressed, talk to your GP or health visitor as soon as possible so you can access the support you need.
Don't struggle on alone and hope the problem will go away. It can continue for months or years if not addressed.
Fathers and partners can also become depressed after the birth of a baby. You should seek help if this is affecting you.
Read more about treating postnatal depression.
Postnatal depression can develop gradually and it can be hard to recognise. Some parents may avoid talking to family and friends about how they’re feeling because they worry they’ll be judged for not coping or not appearing happy.
Signs for partners, family and friends to look out for in new parents include:
If you think someone you know is depressed, encourage them to talk about their feelings to you, a friend, their GP or their health visitor.