This topic is about major depression triggered by childbirth. It is different from the "baby blues," which many women have in the first couple of weeks after childbirth. For more information, see Baby Blues.
depression is a serious illness that can occur in the first few months after
childbirth. It also can happen after
miscarriage and stillbirth.
depression can make you feel very sad, hopeless, and worthless. You may have
trouble caring for and bonding with your baby.
depression is not the "baby blues," which usually go away within a
couple of weeks. The symptoms of postpartum depression can last for
In rare cases, a woman may have a severe form of
postpartum psychosis. This is
an emergency, because it can quickly get worse and put her or others in
It's very important to get treatment for depression. The
sooner you get treated, the sooner you'll feel better and enjoy your
depression seems to be brought on by the changes in
hormone levels that occur after pregnancy. Any woman
can get postpartum depression in the months after childbirth, miscarriage, or
You have a greater chance of getting postpartum
- You've had
depression or postpartum depression
- You have poor support from your partner, friends, or
- You have a sick or
- You have a lot of other
stress in your life.
You are more likely to get postpartum psychosis if you or
someone in your family has
bipolar disorder (also known as
A woman who has postpartum
- Feel very sad, hopeless, and empty. Some
women also may feel
- Lose pleasure in everyday
- Not feel hungry and may lose weight. (But some women feel
more hungry and gain weight).
- Have trouble
- Not be able to concentrate.
These symptoms can occur in the first day or two after
the birth. Or they can follow the symptoms of the baby blues after a couple of
If you think
you may have postpartum depression, take a short quiz to check your symptoms:
Interactive Tool: Are You Depressed?
A woman who has
postpartum psychosis may feel cut off from her baby. She may see and hear
things that aren't there. Any woman who has postpartum depression can have
fleeting thoughts of suicide or of harming her baby. But a woman with
postpartum psychosis may feel like she has to act on these thoughts.
If you think you can't keep from hurting yourself, your baby, or someone
else, see your doctor right away or call 911 for emergency medical care. For
other resources, call:
national suicide hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
- The National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453).