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Chicana and Chicano StudiesLatino Health Issues

Battling the Baby Blues: A Survival Guide for Latinas

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When the "blues" won't go away: Postpartum Depression


Signs and Symptoms


Simple things you can do


When to see a doctor


When someone you love has the "baby blues" or PPD


Helpful Links (English and Spanish) and Sources


Baby Blues?


Have you recently had a baby?

Feeling tired? ...sad? ...overwhelmed?

You are not alone.


The birth of a new baby is supposed to inspire joy and overwhelming love in a mother. But sometimes it doesn't.

Some mothers struggle with feeling let down after the birth of their baby. Others feel overwhelmed by lack of sleep. Most often, new mothers tend to feel weepy and moody during the first couple of weeks after childbirth.

All of these feelings, known as the "baby blues" or postpartum blues, are normal and up to 85% of new moms experience them (1). The blues occur soon after a baby's birth and can last up to two weeks. In addition to feeling sad, many women experience exhaustion due to lack of sleep or insomnia (2). You may also feel irritable, nervous, and/or worried about the awesome responsibility you bear for this new life.


"Baby Blues:" Causes and Risks

Your body changes rapidly after birth due to a sudden drop in hormone levels after the delivery (3). Physical and emotional changes can also contribute to the blues. Your body is healing from the delivery and as milk comes in, your breasts may become painfully swollen. Added to this is the emotional transition to motherhood as one adjusts to her new routine (4).

The good news is that the baby blues should soon go away on their own. No medical treatment is necessary other than reassurance and support from family and friends, rest, and avoiding isolation (5).

A problem for many women, and especially Latinas, is their tendency to hide these feelings from their friends, family members and doctors (6). The Latino belief of Marianismo, the ideal that woman puts duty and family above her own needs (7), can often stop Latinas from asking for help from others (8) and this can lead to feelings of inadequacy, isolation, and an even deeper type of depression called postpartum depression or PPD.


When the "blues" won't go away: Postpartum Depression

Helpful Links (English and Spanish) and Sources


Blue Nude by Pablo PIcasso

Accessibility | Privacy | ASU Disclaimer This site was created by Michelle Smythe in fulfillment of requirements for the course CSS 335: Latino Health Issues taught by Dr. Szkupinski Quiroga at Arizona State University, Spring 2007.