Postpartum Depression

What is postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression is a type of perinatal mood and anxiety disorder (PMAD) that women experience within 12 months of giving birth. Up to 15-20% of women experience postpartum depression, and the odds are even higher for those with one or more risk factors.

What are the risk factors for postpartum depression?

Risk factors include:

  • A personal or family history of depression, anxiety, or postpartum depression
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD or PMS)
  • Inadequate support in caring for the baby
  • Financial stress
  • Marital stress
  • Complications in pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding
  • A major recent life event: loss, house move, job loss
  • Mothers of multiples
  • Mothers whose infants are in Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU)
  • Mothers who’ve gone through infertility treatments
  • Women with a thyroid imbalance
  • Women with any form of diabetes (type 1, type 2 or gestational)

If you have of these risk factors, talk to your medical provider about what to do if you recognize symptoms.

What are the symptoms of Postpartum Depression?
  • Irritability or nervousness
  • Anger
  • Lack of interest in the baby
  • Appetite and sleep disturbance
  • Crying and sadness
  • Feelings of guilt, shame or hopelessness
  • Loss of interest, joy or pleasure in things you used to enjoy
  • Possible thoughts of harming the baby or yourself

What is the treatment for Postpartum Depression?

Treatment plans will vary for each woman, but can include any or all of the following:

  • Self-care (including getting more sleep, eating nutritious food, help with taking care of the baby, getting more exercise & time to relax)
  • Social support (including talking to others on the phone or online and support groups)
  • Talk therapy or counseling
  • Medication

Who can help diagnose/treat Postpartum Depression?
  • Primary Care Physician (PCP)
  • OB/Gyn
  • Mental Health Practitioner

Additional Resource(s)