Dealing With Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression is a major depressive episode that parents may experience after the birth of a child. The term “baby blues” is often used to describe the worry, sadness and fatigue that mothers experience after giving birth. While these symptoms typically resolve on their own within a few days, postpartum depression may last for weeks or months at a time and may impact both women and men.

Anyone who experiences symptoms of postpartum depression, especially for over 30 days, should seek medical help. According to research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in 10 women in the U.S. reported symptoms of major depression in the last year. In addition, about one in eight women with a recent birth experience had symptoms of postpartum depression.

Depression doesn’t feel the same for everyone. How often symptoms occur, how long they last and how intense they may feel can be different for each person. Symptoms of depression can include:

• Lasting sad, anxious or empty mood
• Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
• Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness
• Feelings of irritability or restlessness
• Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
• Loss of energy
• Problems concentrating, recalling details and making decisions
• Difficulty falling asleep or sleeping too much
• Overeating or loss of appetite
• Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts
• Aches or pains that do not get better with treatment

The symptoms of postpartum depression are similar to symptoms for depression, but may also include:

• Crying more often than usual
• Feelings of anger
• Withdrawing from loved ones
• Feeling numb or disconnected from your baby
• Worrying that you will hurt the baby
• Feeling guilty about not being a good parent
• Doubting your ability to care for the baby


Some fathers also report symptoms of postpartum depression following the birth of their baby. A recent pilot study of recent fathers’ behaviors before and after infant birth found that one in 10 reported depressive symptoms. The research shows that becoming a father impacts men’s health and wellbeing, while also contributing to the health and wellbeing of mothers and children. It also helps quantify public health needs related to fathers’ health and healthcare access.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the mental health of people in all seasons of life. Many are experiencing grief and facing challenges that feel overwhelming. Other stressful experiences may also put some women and men at higher risk for postpartum depression. These include low social support, previous personal or family history of depression, difficulty getting pregnant, being a teen parent, and experiencing pregnancy and birth complications.

If you think you may be depressed, the first step to seeking treatment is to talk to your healthcare provider. Remember that depression is not your fault. By asking for support, you are helping yourself and your family.

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