Postnatal depression

You may feel down after having your pēpi (baby). This is known as the 'baby blues'. These feelings usually only last a couple of days. If the blues do not go away, you may be developing postnatal depression. Ask for help — postnatal depression can be treated.

When you may have postnatal depression

You may have postnatal depression if you:

  • always feel tired
  • cry a lot
  • feel that you are a bad parent
  • have aches and pains
  • think bad thoughts
  • do not sleep well, even when your pēpi is asleep
  • feel that you cannot cope with anything, such as housework
  • feel anxious or uncertain all of the time
  • do not care about how you, or things around you, look
  • get angry with other people around you, such as your partner, other tamariki (children) or your whānau.

Anyone who has a pēpi is quite likely to feel some of these things some of the time. Postnatal depression is when these feelings do not go away.

Postnatal depression can affect how you feel about, and care for, your pēpi and other tamariki. Your midwife or Well Child Tamariki oar nurse will ask questions about your feelings when they visit. This is so they can help you to get the support you need.

Postnatal depression can also affect partners. Postnatal depression is more common among men who have been depressed before, or whose partners are suffering from depression.

Getting help and support

Depression is an illness and most often people get well again. It does not mean that you have 'failed' as a person or a parent.

If you or your whānau notice any of these feelings, especially if they last for more than a few days, talk to your midwife, Well Child Tamariki Ora nurse, or doctor straight away. They will be able talk to you about treatment, which may include taking medicine. They will also know what help is available in your area.

You can also find out more about depression and get support from:

Partners, fathers and other support people 

Partners, fathers and other support people need to know what to do if they are worried about you. They should understand that it is OK to ask for advice about the best way to support you.

Talk to other people

Talk to other people as well. They may have had the same feelings as you when they had new babies. Your whānau and friends can help with small, everyday things, such as looking after other tamariki, meals, errands or housework.

They can also remind you that you do not have to go through this alone.

If you have had depression before

If you have had depression or another mental illness before, during you pregnancy you might like to think about the help or support you may need after your pēpi is born.

You could ask other people to be ready to help you, or let people know what to look for, so that you can get help early.