Mood changes in the first three weeks after childbirth

J Affect Disord. 1981 Dec;3(4):317-26. doi: 10.1016/0165-0327(81)90001-x.


Eighty one women were asked to rate their mood on a set of 6 visual analogue scales every day for the first 3 weeks after childbirth. The 6 scales were concerned with happiness, depression, tears, anxiety, irritability and lability. Ratings on the depression, tears and lability scales rose to a sharp peak on the 5th post partum day and declined steadily thereafter. This day 5 peak was the same in primiparae and multiparae, and in breast-and bottle-feeders, and was largely independent of the day of leaving hospital. Women who became clinically depressed later in the puerperium had higher depression and lability ratings, and a more pronounced day 5 peak, than those who did not.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Breast Feeding
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mood Disorders / psychology*
  • Parity
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Puerperal Disorders / psychology*