Common symptoms to look out for are:

  • Feeling depressed, down or irritable

  • Not able to enjoy things that are usually enjoyable

  • Major changes in appetite, or significant weight gain or loss

  • Sleeping too much or not enough

  • Major changes in energy level

  • Unable to concentrate or make decisions

  • Feeling worthless or excessively guilty

  • Abnormal thoughts of death or of killing yourself

Approximately 80-85% of women have postpartum “blues” which is defined as feeling overwhelmed, irritable, impatient, as well as having moments of emotional hypersensitivity, sadness and crying. These experiences are normal and thought to be due to the hormonal changed that accompany delivery. However, if these symptoms last for more than two weeks, it is advisable to seek help because they might be signs of Perinatal Depression. Perinatal Depression is a more serious condition. It is defined as clinical depression around the time of pregnancy. It affects up to 1 in 5 women, making it one of the most common complications of pregnancy.
You may also notice that you are:
  • Feeling very anxious, especially about the pregnancy or the safety and health of your baby
  • Having confusing thoughts about something harming the baby or doing something to harm the baby
  • Having anger or rage that is not normal for you
  • Not allowing anyone else to care for your baby
  • Having difficulty with breastfeeding
  • Feeling as though you are not bonding with your baby

In some severe cases, women may experience Postpartum Psychosis where they also experience delusions, hallucinations, and other psychotic symptoms. This is very rare, affecting only 1-2 women per 1000 women giving birth, but it is very serious and requires immediate medical attention.


There is an abundance of resources and additional information on Perinatal Depression available on the web. Here are a few educational resources that we found to be particularly interesting and helpful.

This is a FAQ sheet from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. It has information about what postpartum depression is, causes, and treatment options. It also provides links to other websites with information on postpartum depression. Click here to visit the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website to access this document: American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

This website is a perinatal focused portion of a larger toolkit for depression education that includes information on treatment options and risk factors for Perinatal Depression, as well as information on other similar and related depressive disorders. Click here to visit the Depression Toolkit website to access this document: Depression Toolkit

Although this website is for an organization in San Diego, California and all of the resources (events, support groups, etc.) listed are local to San Diego. However, this site does have downloadable brochures in Spanish as well as a great section explaining how fathers are affected by Perinatal Depression. Click here to visit the Postpartum Health Alliance website to access this document: Postpartum Health Alliance

Dr. Christina Hibbert is a clinical psychologist, author, and speaker who specializes in women’s mental health. On her website, there is a section committed to postpartum depression with over twenty links for further education about postpartum depression for mothers, for fathers, treatment options, and other support options. Click here to visit Dr. Christina Hibbert’s website to access this document: Dr. Christina Hibbert

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