Postpartum Depression Symptoms, Causes & Management

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Welcoming a new life into the world is a most beautiful gesture & joyous feeling of mankind/ nature. But sometimes a mother goes through a state of low mood/ depression right after the birth of the baby known as “postpartum depression“. It ranges from mild to moderate to severe in intensity.

Depression after childbirth ranges from
A: Baby blues
B: Postpartum depression
C: Postpartum psychosis

Most new moms suffer from” baby blues” which is a feeling of mood swings, crying, anxiety, tiredness, appetite loss, and sleep disturbances which last 3, 4 days after the birth of a baby and resolves within 2 weeks. Postpartum depression is a condition that can develop in hours, days, or weeks right after the birth of the baby and can remain months long if left untreated. 1 in every 10 women suffers from postpartum depression. Sometimes a severe form of postpartum psychosis develops which affects 1 in every 1000 women. It needs hospitalization and strict care.

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The purpose of this article is to raise awareness regarding postpartum depression, so that early diagnosis helps to improve the maternal-child wellbeing & relationship.

If left untreated postpartum depression can lead to serious consequences. And in some extreme cases, maternal or fetal deaths are also reported. Do not ignore your loved ones. If you see anyone suffering from postpartum depression extend your help to support them. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has encouraged pediatric practices to create a system to rule out a postpartum depression in order to ensure a healthier and
stronger parent-child relationship. Remember postpartum depression is a treatable problem. Don’t ignore your loved ones.

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Statistics Overview

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It is the state of low mood right after the birth of the baby. It is sad to know that still most of the cases of postpartum depression remain undiagnosed. According to World Health Organisation (WHO) worldwide about 10% of pregnant women and 13%of the women who have just given birth experience a mental disorder primarily depression. Sadly the facts and figures are beyond this because most of the cases of postpartum are not reported or remain undiagnosed. It is still taboo to talk about these issues in various parts of the world. In the US every 1 in 8 women suffers from postpartum depression.

Postpartum Depression

Post-partum depression is a type of depression that many parents experience after the birth of a baby. It’s a common problem but still not diagnosed in time. More than 1 in every 10 women diagnosed with postnatal depression. It can also affect fathers as well.

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A true love and happiness between a mother and her child. This black and white image shows happy emotion.

The need of the hour is to understand that postpartum depression is not a weakness or a character flaw. Sometimes it is just a complication of childbirth. It can happen anytime during or after delivery (after 3, 4 days, weeks, or even during the first year after childbirth). It is natural to feel tired, anxious, and fatigued after childbirth regardless it first birth or subsequent. Do not ignore if you have a consistent and permanent feeling of tiredness, fatigue, and low mood and it interrupts your daily routine. When low mood affects the ability to do any work it signals postpartum depression. Immediately seek the advice of your caregiver.

Remember you are not alone in this journey. If a mother is well and good only then the growth of a healthier child can be possible. Postpartum depression needs both medical management and counseling.

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Postpartum Depression Causes

There is no definitive cause of postpartum depression. Many factors contribute to postpartum depression. It may be due to physical changes and emotional issues.

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Physical changes

A lot of physical & hormonal changes happened during pregnancy and after childbirth. During pregnancy levels of estrogen and progesterone (maternal hormone) raise 10 fold than their actual value. After childbirth sudden drop/withdrawal of estrogen and progesterone levels can contribute to postnatal depression.

Hormones released by Thyroid gland also drop after delivery which results in slow sluggish behaviour and contribute to low mood.

Emotional Causes

Being a new mother is not easy; it owes a lot of new duties and responsibilities. Feeling of the burden of new duties, lack of sleep, self-negligence, and fear of not managing things in the proper manner may
contribute to postpartum depression.

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Risk factors

A lot of risk factors also contribute to this illness. Risk factors include

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  • Previous history of depression
  • Family history of depression
  • Previous history of postpartum depression
  • Unplanned/unwanted pregnancy
  • Multiple pregnancies, twins, triplets, etc.
  • Being single parent
  • Low socioeconomic status
  • Health issues to a newborn or a newborn with special needs
  • Previous history of having bipolar disorder or any other mental health issues
  • Financial issues / Unemployment / jobless
  • Lack of support from family or friends
  • Difficulty in breast-feeding
  • Chronic illness
  • Single parent
  • Marital conflict
  • Younger age at birth

Postpartum Depression Symptoms

Following are some of the symptoms of postnatal depression

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  • Low mood
  • overreact to patty issues
  • unusual mood swings
  • Crying spells
  • Fear of not being a good mommy
  • Feeling sad, low, gloomy
  • Lack of energy, fatigued, tired
  • Anxious, nervousness, restlessness
  • Lack of interest in daily routine/ activities
  • Unable to do routine work
  • Social cut off, avoiding family and close relatives
  • Changes in the pattern of sleep, sleeping too much, or insomnia (lack of sleep)
  • Lack of attachment to baby, no intimate feeling or bonding to baby
  • Change in appetite, eating too much or too little
  • Lack of concentration, ability to make the decision is impaired
  • Frightening thoughts like Feeling of doing harm to the baby
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

Depression | Symptoms & Remedies


Postpartum depression is a manageable illness. Timely diagnosis and proper management help in treating the disorder and help in improving maternal-child relationship.

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Management of postpartum disorder depends upon the type of disorder and severity of illness. Treatment options include

  • Antidepressant medication
  • Anti-anxiety medication
  • Psychotherapy
  • Support group participation
  • Counseling
  • Don’t feel alone & immediately seek help from your dear ones. Take advice from family and friends.
  • Consult your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor may also refer you to a mental health professional as well.

With appropriate treatment, postnatal depression usually improves. It is important to continue treatment once you start feeling better because untreated postnatal depression can lead to chronic depression or it may even relapse with the worst outcome.

Remember, if you are breast-feeding any medication you take will enter your breast milk. The need is to consult your doctor before breastfeeding if you are taking any medication. The doctor can only decide the potential risk and benefit of a particular medication.

This article is for general health information only. If you suffer from any problem contact your health care provider or doctor. All copyrights are reserved. Any queries and questions are welcomed at



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