25 Sep The Baby Pinks: What Is It and When Is it a Reason for Concern
Most people are familiar with the terms Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression. The Baby Blues is a very common phenomenon following childbirth where the new mother experiences down or depressed mood, weepiness, over-sensitivity, irritability and, sometimes, mild anxiety. The Baby Blues is a transient condition believed to be related to the drastic decrease in hormone levels once the placenta leaves the body. A severe case of the Baby Blues, which does not resolve on its own within a few days, may be a risk factor for Postpartum Depression; a more complicated and prolonged mental disorder that warrants treatment.
few people are aware of a phenomenon, which has been termed the Baby Pinks. It has only recently been noted that an extremely elevated and euphoric mood following birth could be a reason for concern. Why, you may ask, is good mood a reason for concern? Isn’t it normal for a new mother to be happy when she has just given birth to a healthy, beautiful baby? Of course it is. Moreover, do we need to pathologize happiness? Of course not! So let me clarify that there is a reason for concern only when this unusually elevated and euphoric mood lasts more than a couple of days AND is accompanied by a few of the following symptoms: an inability to fall asleep even when the baby is sleeping, a decreased need for sleep (i.e., feeling refreshed after only a couple of hours of sleep), atypical talkativeness, inability to relax, grandiose ideas, irritability and irresponsible behavior. A woman may also lose touch with reality at that point; things she says or does may not make sense to people around her. When this is the case, the mother may be suffering from a hypomanic or, worse, a manic episode, which could be dangerous.
Why do some women get the Baby Pinks? The answer is still unclear. The current belief among clinicians and researchers alike is, that some women may be particularly vulnerable to the drastic hormonal fluctuations which ensue after the birth and that these women may develop either the Baby Blues or the Baby Pinks or even both intermittently. Some researchers (e.g., Dr. Sharma) have found a connection between a night-time birth or a particularly long labor, which result in prolonged loss of sleep, and hypomanic or manic episodes. So while being happy and elated after the birth of a baby may be a wonderful state of mind to experience, new mothers should be monitored to assure that the normal and common state of happiness following birth doesn’t develop into a concerning state of mind, which, if that is the case, necessitates an intervention.
Questions, thoughts or other comments, please respond to this blog or e-mail Dr. Regev at firstname.lastname@example.org.