Postpartum Depression

woman-1373715159FphPostpartum depression can effect the lives of many women. Changes in hormones during pregnancy and postpartum can cause changes in emotions. Bringing a newborn into the world can be something unfamiliar as well as daunting for new and experienced mothers and can contribute to changes in emotions. It is estimated that 20% of postpartum mothers will develop postpartum depression.

During the postpartum period all women at risk for developing the “blues”. The blue is common after having a baby and typically only last 2 weeks. During this period women can be happy one minute and/or sad or angry the next moment. This can greatly affect how you feel and react to situations. Postpartum stress following the birth of a preterm infant can affect mothers both mentally and physiologically. If there are stress situations such as relationship conflicts, work stress, finance issues or fear of the unknown can all exacerbate or contribute to emotional issues.

Postpartum depression can occur within the first few weeks after having a baby or up to 4-6 months after having a baby. Most often it will develop within 6 weeks postpartum. Postpartum depression can have a negative effect and can lead to decrease bonding between mother. Breastfeeding may be effected with poor feedings.

Some women are at a higher risk for developing postpartum depression. Women with a history of any physchological or mental health issues, before or during their pregnancy are at risk for postpartum depression. Women that have had postpartum depression after other births are also at risk for developing postpartum depression again.  There are also non-pregnancy related factors that can increase ones risk for postpartum depression including martial or relationship discord. Marital or relationship discord can range from physically abusive relationships to financial stress. Lack of social support from partner, family and friends.

There can be many reasons that emotions are triggered especially if there been previous losses or other pregnancies that were challenging. Which ever is the case there are some things you can do in the pregnancy that can help prevent of lessen the effects.


Postpartum depression usually begins within the first month after the delivery. Symptoms include depressed mood, fatigue, inability to experience happiness, changed in appetite, low energy,  little desire to care for infant, difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much. In some cases the symptoms can be as severe as having thought of suicide and hurting oneself or feeling inadequate as a parent.

Postpartum psychosis is different than postpartum depression and can occur as early as 2 weeks postpartum. The symptoms can include those of depression but also include disorganized behavior, mood instability, delusions and hallucinations.

Treatment for postpartum depression can vary and may include counseling, social support and/or starting medication. It is always important to notify you healthcare provider of your emotions because this is important to you start on the right treatment. Depression can also occur before you have you baby and it is important to notify your healthcare provider of any changes to you mood and emotions.

Here are some helpful tips that have been studied to show helpful in preventing or decreasing the effects of postpartum depression.


  • Eat a balanced meal with key nutrients such as: with Omega-3 essential fatty acids, folate, vitamin B12 and Iron.
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes at least 5 days a week.
  • Get a good nights sleep
  • Take naps during the day
  • Nutrition and physical health will positively help with negative emotions.
  • Become active in your community and neighborhood.
  • Reach out to family and friends talk or support
  • Reconnecting with support persons or therapists, especially if these emotions become wore or interfere with your daily life


Gyneth Paltrow talks about postpartum depression

Available Academic Article:

Meijer, J. L., Beijers, C., Pampus, M. G., Verbeek, T., Stolk, R. P., Milgrom, J., … & Burger, H. (2014). Predictive accuracy of Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale assessment during pregnancy for the risk of developing postpartum depressive symptoms: a prospective cohort study. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology. Click here

Hou, Y., Hu, P., Zhang, Y., Lu, Q., Wang, D., Yin, L., … & Zou, X. (2014). Cognitive behavioral therapy in combination with systemic family therapy improves mild to moderate postpartum depression. Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria36(1), 47-52. Click here


Gavin, N. I., Gaynes, B. N., Lohr, K. N., Meltzer-Brody, S., Gartlehner, G., & Swinson, T. (2005). Perinatal depression: a systematic review of prevalence and incidence. Obstetrics & Gynecology106(5, Part 1), 1071-1083.

Hall, Pauline L., DClin Psy; Holden, Sarah, DClin Psy.  (2008). Association of Psychosocial and Demographic Factors with Postpartum Negative Thoughts and Appraisals.  Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing.  Volume 22, Number 4.  (Page 275-281).


The meaning of Postpartum