Caring for a newborn can be overwhelming. You’re expected to sustain another human life (which you probably have no idea how to go about), your body is healing, and your hormones are all over the place, which may affect your mood. These hormonal shifts may cause postpartum depression for many new moms, an anxiety disorder that leaves women feeling worthless, sad, hopeless, anxious, or guilty.
Postpartum anxiety and depression (PPA and PPD) are the most talked about postpartum disorders, affecting up to 15% of women.
But Some moms experience the exact opposite of PPD – they’re overly happy, have limitless energy, can barely sleep, and feel invisible after childbirth. This is referred to as postpartum euphoria, hypomania, or the “baby pinks.” On the surface, this condition sounds harmless because the symptoms seem positive.
However, it can be hazardous, getting worse over time. Unfortunately, minimal research has been done on the phenomenon, but it is estimated that up to 10% of women experience symptoms of the baby pinks within the first few days postpartum. Here’s everything you need to know about the condition.
What Is Postpartum Euphoria?
According to Parents, Postpartum euphoria explains the hypomanic symptoms women experience immediately after delivery. Older research by Cambridge University Press published online revealed that up to 10% of women exhibiting symptoms of hypomania within the first five days postpartum. Unlike PPD, hypomania is a relatively unstudied phenomenon, mainly because it lasts for a while. Most cases are fleeting, lasting several days or weeks in some cases. Neuropsychiatry notes that the disorder affects approximately 1 in 10 new moms, which is significant.
Also, a report by the Archives of Women’s Mental Health adds:
- Roughly 10 to 50% of women who have recently delivered exhibit symptoms of postpartum euphoria.
- 12 to 30% of new moms who’ve been sent to the doctor to receive treatment for postpartum mood disorders show postpartum euphoria signs.
Unfortunately, women who experience the “baby pinks” seem to be doing fine, but they’re not. The mania is a serious postpartum mental health disorder that could potentially cause more severe issues such as postpartum psychosis if not addressed. And the fact that people have barely heard of the disorder and symptoms seem positive (overjoyed or excess energy) makes it even harder for new moms to get a proper diagnosis and treatment. Still, women showing such signs a few days after delivery may have a mood disorder that must be addressed.
Symptoms Of Postpartum Euphoria
A mom with the baby pinks may be flooded with intense energy levels hours or days after delivery. You may find yourself moving throughout, entertaining guests, and even wanting to do things like go shopping at the mall, all of which are unexpected for a new mom. It may feel excellent that you’re convinced that you’re a superwoman. But it’s too good to be true, and you may eventually crash and pass out due to the mania and boundless energy.
So, even though it feels good at first, it can leave you feeling confused, tired, and anxious if symptoms get worse or are not treated. It can further progress to mental health conditions such as PPD or, in rare cases, postpartum psychosis if not treated.
According to Very Well Family, the mood disorder is characterized by excessively high energy, intense happiness, and feeling invisible. People vary in terms of how they experience hypomania. However, the symptoms may include:
- Feeling overly excited and energetic
- Being more focused and hard-working.
- Sleeping for fewer hours.
- Talking too much that you’re unable to stop.
- Feeling like you’re superhuman/invisible
- Feeling stronger, more creative, and sexual.
- Reckless decision-making
- Having trouble paying attention and racing thoughts.
- Feeling as though there’s nothing better than you.
If you or a loved one is showing any of these symptoms, or they’re making you incapable of caring for your child, reach your healthcare provider immediately. Symptoms can get worse and last longer. If you develop more serious symptoms of mania, you may start to get involved in risky behavior, not recognizing the repercussions of your actions, or believing that you’re superwoman. If this happens, you and your child’s well-being and may be at risk because you don’t fully comprehend the risks and consequences of your behavior.
Risks Connected To Postpartum Euphoria
It’s common for women to experience mild cases of mania, especially the first two weeks after delivery. This is known as the “baby blues, where you alternate from extremely happy to extremely sad.
Almost all women experience the “baby blues” after delivery, linked to hormonal shifts during the postpartum period. However, these feelings last a short while. If they go beyond the first two weeks postpartum, it may be more than the “baby blues.”
Higher Risk Of Developing PPD
Postpartum euphoria is connected to postpartum depression because it increases your risk of PPD. Studies estimate that 20 to 25% of women who develop PPD initially had hypomania, meaning women with euphoria are predisposed to catching PPD eventually. So, it’s essential for researchers to understand the link between these two disorders since it determines the care a new mom receives.
Increased Risk of Developing Postpartum Psychosis
Psychosis after delivery is rare, affecting only 0.1 to 0.2% of new moms. However, hypomania is quite a common symptom of this disorder, which needs to be taken seriously and analyzed. Moms with a history of postpartum psychosis or bipolar disorder are more likely to develop mood disorders. Postpartum psychosis symptoms include recklessness, hallucination, extreme highs and lows, and confusion. And even though rare, exhibiting symptoms of psychosis requires urgent psychiatric care.
Treating Postpartum Euphoria
As this is a relatively new phenomenon, doctors are yet to fully grasp the mood disorder and how to best treat it. So, even though up to 10% of women experience the baby pinks, there’s not enough research to determine how these symptoms are linked to other postpartum mood disorders. If you or a loved one have any of the above symptoms, contact your healthcare provider. They can help with your specific situation, including how the symptoms manifest in this case and whether you have a mood disorder that requires treatment.
Don’t worry; There are many treatment options for the disorder, including lifestyle changes, therapy, and in some cases, psychiatric medicine must be combined with the two for treatment to be effective. Today’s Parent advises against leaving moms with extremely odd symptoms alone with the baby. Also, it’s vital to ensure you have a strong support network to help you rest and stay in touch with clinicians who will make sure treatment is working.
It can be scary for moms to seek treatment for a postpartum mood disorder, but there are many resources to assist you, and you need to get better and feel more like yourself to care for your baby better.
Sources: Parents, Today’s Parent, Very Well Family,
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