Postpartum Depression

An untimely disorder that dulls a very important chapter in all our lives, parenthood. Postpartum depression is characterized by intense feelings of melancholy and fatigue following the birth of a child/children. It is normal for it to occur, and is treatable. 

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Parenting is not an easy task and having a baby can be overwhelming. It’s okay to feel the way you do and just know that if you are going through depression, you do not have to go through it alone. 

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  • Persistent Sadness and Feelings of Hopelessness
  • Fatigue and Lack of Energy
  • Changes in Appetite
  • Sleep Disturbances
  • Physical changes to the body due to pregnancy
  • Lack of sleep because of the baby
  • Anxiety regarding parenting 
  • Changes to your relationships

  • Psychotherapy
  • Medications
  • Support groups
  • Lifestyle modifications

  • Psychiatry
  • Psychology
  • Therapy

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Postpartum Depression

What is Postpartum Depression (PPD)?

The journey into motherhood is often portrayed as a joyous and fulfilling experience, filled with love and wonder. It’s normal to be confused and worried about your new venture into parenthood, especially if you’re a first time parent. However, for some women, this transition can also bring forth a different reality. Postpartum depression is a mental health disorder that can manifest in various ways, ranging from mild to severe, and it typically emerges within the first few weeks after delivery, although it can arise at any time during the first year.

Know that you’re not alone, these feelings that come are not a result of who you are as a person and it is completely normal. The disorder is treatable and there are mental healthcare experts who are ready to manage your symptoms and help you feel better.

Symptoms of Postpartum Depression:

Postpartum depression can manifest in various ways, and the severity and duration of symptoms can vary from person to person. A lot of people do start to think of themselves as horrible parents for feeling the way they do. But it is very common and trust us, you’re not alone. It is even possible for the father to feel symptoms of PPD. If you do ever find yourself, your partner or both having to deal with depression or anxiety after bringing the child home, do reach out for support. Around 4% of partners experience it after the first year of the child being born.

Some common symptoms include:

1. Persistent Sadness and Feelings of Hopelessness: Feeling down, sad, or hopeless most of the time, even when there is no apparent reason, is a prominent symptom of postpartum depression.

2. Fatigue and Lack of Energy: Overwhelming exhaustion and a constant feeling of fatigue, regardless of rest or sleep, are common in postpartum depression.

3. Changes in Appetite: Significant changes in appetite, such as loss of appetite or overeating, can be indicative of postpartum depression.

4. Sleep Disturbances: Insomnia, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or sleeping excessively are common sleep disturbances associated with postpartum depression.

5. Irritability and Agitation: Increased irritability, restlessness, and agitation are frequent symptoms of postpartum depression.

6. Anxiety and Panic Attacks: Persistent anxiety, excessive worrying, and recurrent panic attacks are often experienced by individuals with postpartum depression.

7. Feelings of Guilt and Worthlessness: Excessive guilt, self-blame, and feelings of worthlessness or inadequacy are common emotional symptoms of postpartum depression.

8. Difficulty Bonding with the Baby: A sense of detachment, difficulty bonding with the newborn, or a lack of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyable are signs of postpartum depression.

9. Intrusive Thoughts: Some women with postpartum depression may experience intrusive thoughts about harming themselves or their baby. These thoughts should be taken seriously and require immediate professional help.

It is important to note that experiencing one or more of these symptoms does not necessarily mean a woman has postpartum depression, but if these symptoms persist for more than two weeks or interfere with daily functioning, it is crucial to seek professional evaluation and support.

Baby Blues VS PPD

The two are often confused for each other, which is why we’d like to break the confusion before going further into the topic.

Baby blues and PPD have very similar symptoms, which makes it easy to confuse the two. Baby blues is a less intense version of PPD where the symptoms last about 10 days. Unlike PPD where the symptoms could last weeks or even months following the child’s birth.

Here are a few symptoms that could indicate that you have baby blues:

  • Frequent crying spells
  • Overwhelmed by the situation.
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sudden mood changes
  • Trouble sleeping.

What Causes Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression is a complex condition with multiple contributing factors. More research has to be conducted to find the link between the change in hormone levels during and after pregnancy and what that has to do with depression. 

But it can be inferred that along with the chemical changes, there also tend to be social and psychological changes associated with having a baby that can increase the risk of developing PPD. 

For example:

  • Physical changes to the body due to pregnancy
  • Lack of sleep because of the baby
  • Anxiety regarding parenting 
  • Changes to your relationships

Types of Postpartum Depression:

While postpartum depression (PPD) is commonly used as an umbrella term, it encompasses various subtypes or variations of the condition. Here are some of the different types of postpartum depression:

Major Depression Disorder With Peripartum Onset:

This is the most common and widely recognized type of postpartum depression. It refers to the onset of a major depressive episode during pregnancy or within four weeks after giving birth. Symptoms may include depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, significant weight changes, sleep disturbances, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, difficulty concentrating, and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.

Postpartum Anxiety:

Postpartum anxiety is characterized by excessive worry, persistent fear, and heightened anxiety levels that significantly interfere with a mother's daily functioning and well-being. Symptoms may include racing thoughts, irritability, restlessness, difficulty sleeping or relaxing, hypervigilance, intrusive thoughts, and physical symptoms like rapid heartbeat or shortness of breath.

Postpartum Panic Disorder:

Postpartum panic disorder involves recurrent and unexpected panic attacks, which are intense episodes of extreme fear or discomfort. Panic attacks are often accompanied by physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, trembling, and a sense of impending doom. These panic attacks can be distressing and disruptive, impacting a mother's ability to care for herself and her baby.

Postpartum Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD):

Postpartum OCD is characterized by intrusive and repetitive thoughts, images, or impulses (obsessions) that provoke anxiety, as well as compulsions or rituals performed to alleviate that anxiety. These obsessions often revolve around the baby's safety or the mother's ability to care for the child. Common compulsions may include excessive cleaning, checking behaviors, or mental rituals to neutralize intrusive thoughts.

Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):

Some women may develop postpartum PTSD following a traumatic childbirth experience. This can occur when the mother perceives her life or her baby's life to be in danger during childbirth. Symptoms may include intrusive memories or flashbacks of the traumatic event, nightmares, avoidance of reminders associated with the trauma, hypervigilance, irritability, and difficulty sleeping.

Postpartum Psychosis:

Postpartum psychosis is an extremely rare but severe and emergent condition that requires immediate medical attention. It involves a break from reality, with symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thinking or behavior, severe mood swings, confusion, and thoughts of harming oneself or the baby. It is considered a psychiatric emergency, and the affected individual should seek urgent medical care.

Diagnosis and Treatment:

How is Postpartum Depression Diagnosed?

Postpartum Visit

Postpartum depression can not be diagnosed through a single test and will require a range of different methods for a proper diagnosis. The healthcare expert will evaluate your risk of developing PPD at your postpartum visit. During this, they will ask you questions about your medical history and how you have been feeling since delivery. It is also common practice for them to conduct physical exams, pelvic exams and lab tests. 


Your screening session will be scheduled two or three weeks postpartum to see if you’re at risk of PPD at an early stage and so get the help you require as soon as possible. During the screening session, you’ll be asked numerous questions regarding how you’re feeling and how your baby is doing. Make sure to be honest while answering these questions as it will help the, get a clear picture of how you feel and so guide you through the symptoms of postpartum depression.

It is also possible that your healthcare provider may order a blood test as PPD can cause symptoms similar to that of thyroid conditions.

The Process of Screening

  1. Self-Assessment: The Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) is a commonly used screening tool that can help identify symptoms of PPD. It consists of a series of questions related to mood, thoughts, and feelings experienced after childbirth.
  2. Medical Evaluation: A healthcare provider may conduct a thorough physical examination and review the medical history to rule out other possible causes of symptoms, such as thyroid disorders or anemia.
  3. Psychological Evaluation: A mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, may assess the individual's mental health and gather information about symptoms, duration, and severity to make a diagnosis.


The treatment for Postpartum depression will be tailored around your symptoms, preferences, needs and severity. Here are the ways in which it can be treated:

  1. Psychotherapy: Talk therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or interpersonal therapy (IPT), is often the first-line treatment for PPD. These therapies can help individuals identify and change negative thought patterns, develop coping strategies, and improve their overall well-being.
  2. Medications: Antidepressant medications may be prescribed in moderate to severe cases of PPD. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are commonly used because they are generally safe for breastfeeding mothers, but the choice of medication should be made in consultation with a healthcare provider.
  3. Support groups: Joining support groups or participating in counseling sessions specifically designed for women with PPD can provide emotional support and a sense of community.
  4. Lifestyle modifications: Encouraging self-care practices, such as regular exercise, proper nutrition, adequate sleep, and involving supportive family members or friends in childcare responsibilities, can help alleviate symptoms of PPD.
  5. Social support: It is crucial for women with PPD to have a strong support system in place. This can involve seeking help from family members, friends, or support organizations that focus on postpartum mental health.

If you suspect you or someone you know may have PPD, it is recommended to consult a healthcare provider or mental health professional for a comprehensive evaluation and appropriate treatment.

Is it Okay to Not Get PPD Treated?

Leaving PPD untreated is less than ideal as it can affect you, your baby and your loved ones. Depression is a serious illness and can make you feel exhausted constantly, have major mood swings, induce anxiety and in extreme cases make you want to hurt yourself.

It really is not worth it and it’s not something you should “push through” alone.
Get the help you deserve!

Cand PPD Affect The Baby?

Yes, you are a major part of your baby’s life. Anything that affects you will also indirectly affect the baby. Which is why getting treatment is important for the both of you.

According to research, it can affect your child in the following ways:

  • You will find it difficult to provide care for the baby and so will not be able to establish a bond with them.
  • The child may develop behavioral or learning problems.
  • The child may not be able to sleep or be fed well.
  • The child may be at higher risk of developmental disorders.
  • The baby may have impaired social skills.
  • You may find it difficult to keep track of the child’s health or even miss their pediatric appointments.

Coping With Postpartum Depression:

Parenting is not an easy task and having a baby can be overwhelming. It’s okay to feel the way you do and just know that if you are going through depression, you do not have to go through it alone. We’re here to guide you and provide the right treatment plan that works for you.

Having said that, let’s look at a few things that you could do to better cope with PPD.

  • Find someone to talk to, do not isolate yourself. A therapist, family member or someone who’s willing to just listen.
  • Make sure to eat healthy and take some time to exercise.
  • Prioritize rest, your baby is not going to follow the same sleep schedule as you. Get enough rest so that you can take care of your child.
  • Go out! If you’re not an outdoor person, do things that you enjoy. Don’t throw away your hobbies.
  • Get some help with household chores or errands.
  • Joining a support group is a beneficial way to meet new moms and understand that what you might be going through is not exclusive to you.

We're Worried If You're Facing Any Of These Symptoms. Please Notify A Healthcare Provider If So:

  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby.
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.
  • Depressed mood for most of the day, nearly every day for the last two weeks.
  • Feeling anxious, guilty, hopeless, scared, panicked or worthless.
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating, making decisions or dealing with everyday situations.
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most activities nearly every day for the last two weeks.

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Postpartum Depression

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