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Everything You Need to Know About Postpartum Depression

Home > Blogs > Everything You Need to Know About Postpartum Depression

Everything You Need to Know About Postpartum Depression

Obstetrics and Gynaecology | by Dr. Manjari Chatterjee | Published on 18/04/2023

Giving birth to a baby is one of the most significant moments in a woman's life. However, it can also be an overwhelming experience that may lead to a range of emotional and physical changes. One such change that some new mothers may face is postpartum depression (PPD). 

PPD is a mood disorder that affects women after giving birth and can last for several months or even years if left untreated. This blog provides information on postpartum depression and ways in which you can cope with it. Please note that this blog is only for informational purposes and does not replace the significance of a doctor’s consultation.

Overview: What Is Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression (PPD) is a type of mood disorder that affects some women post giving birth. It is characterized by feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and emptiness that persist throughout the day and interfere with daily activities. PPD can develop anytime within the first year after giving birth and can last for several months or even years if left untreated. 

Postpartum depressions are fairly common in almost 75% of women experiencing baby blues after their delivery. Up to 15% of these people will develop postpartum depression. Additionally, PPD is a treatable condition, and there are several effective treatment options available.

What Are The Different Types Of Postpartum Depression?

There are different types of postpartum depression which are mentioned below - 

Major depressive disorder with peripartum onset: This is a severe form of depression that can occur during pregnancy or within four weeks after giving birth.

  • Postpartum anxiety - This type of PPD is characterized by excessive worry or fear, which can include panic attacks or obsessive-compulsive behaviours.
  • Postpartum obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) - This type of PPD involves intrusive thoughts or images that can be distressing and cause anxiety. Women with postpartum OCD may engage in repetitive behaviours or mental acts to reduce anxiety related to these thoughts.
  • Postpartum post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) - Women who have experienced a traumatic birth or a medical emergency during delivery may develop this type of PPD. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, and avoidance of triggers related to the traumatic event.
  • Postpartum bipolar disorder - This type of PPD is characterized by mood swings that range from depression to mania. Women with postpartum bipolar disorder may experience periods of high energy, decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, and impulsive behaviour.

It is essential to seek help from a healthcare provider or mental health professional if you are experiencing symptoms of PPD, regardless of the type. Treatment can help alleviate symptoms and improve overall well-being.

What Are The Symptoms Of Postpartum Depression?

Postpartum depression symptoms can vary from woman to woman, and they can appear anytime within the first year after giving birth. Some of the common symptoms of PPD include - 

  • Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or emptiness that persist throughout the day
  • Loss of interest in activities that used to bring joy
  • Severe mood swings and irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Lack of energy and fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Thoughts of self-harm or harming the baby

What Causes Postpartum Depression?

There is no single cause of postpartum depression, and it may result from a combination of physical, emotional, and social factors. There are several risk factors which also contribute to the progression of emotional and physical symptoms during this period. Some of the potential causes of postpartum depression include - 

  • Hormonal changes - After giving birth, the body undergoes significant hormonal changes that can affect mood and emotions.
  • Genetics - Women with a family history of depression or other mood disorders may be more susceptible to PPD.
  • Lack of support - Lack of emotional or practical support from partners, family, or friends can increase the risk of PPD.
  • Life stressors - Women who experience significant life stressors, such as financial difficulties or problems in their relationship with people around them are usually considered to be at a greater risk of being diagnosed with PPD.
  • Traumatic birth experience - Women who experience a traumatic birth, such as an emergency cesarean or complications during delivery, may also be at increased risk of PPD.

What Are The Treatment Options For Postpartum Depression?

The good news is that PPD is treatable, and there are several effective treatment options available. Treatment may include a combination of medication, psychotherapy, and self-care strategies. Here are some of the common treatment options for PPD -

  • Antidepressant medication - Medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can be effective in treating PPD. However, it is essential to work with a doctor to determine the best medication and dosage for each individual.
  • Psychotherapy - Psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), can help women identify negative thoughts and behaviours and develop coping strategies to manage them.
  • Self-care - Self-care is essential for managing PPD. This may include getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet, engaging in physical activity, and finding time for activities that bring joy and relaxation.
  • Support groups - Joining a support group of other women who have experienced PPD can be helpful in reducing feelings of isolation and gaining a sense of community.
  • Partner or family therapy - Partner or family therapy can be useful in addressing relationship issues and improving communication.


Postpartum depression is a common mood disorder that affects many new mothers. The symptoms of PPD can vary, and it is essential to seek help if you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above. With the right treatment and support, women with PPD can recover and enjoy motherhood. If you or someone you know is struggling with PPD, consult a medical professional for early diagnosis and effective treatment.


How to deal with postpartum depression?

Here are some ways to deal with postpartum depression - 

  • Encourage therapies or talk to a friend, family member or someone who listens to you and helps you.
  • Join a support group for new parents
  • Maintain a balanced diet and try to eat healthily
  • Prioritize rest for yourself
  • Encourage self-care and doing things you enjoy
  • Get help with household chores or errands

How long does postpartum depression last?

Most women may experience postpartum depression until one year after the birth of their child. However, this doesn't mean it is cured in one year. Discuss your condition with the healthcare provider for effective treatment.