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Postpartum Depression Health Center

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Understanding Postpartum Depression -- Diagnosis and Treatment

Medications for Postpartum Depression continued...

Also, if you have had a previous episode of postpartum depression, your health care provider may suggest you take preventive medicine shortly after the baby is born or during pregnancy. Most antidepressants have no known risks to a developing fetus, although all medications have potential risks. Some antidepressants including the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors Paxil, Zoloft, and Prozac have rarely been associated with persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn and cardiac septal defects when taken during the last half of the pregnancy. Tricyclic antidepressants may cause limb deformities when taken early in pregnancy. 

Many women who have given birth do not want to become pregnant again right away. However, if you are being treated for postpartum depression, you may want to choose a contraception method other than birth control pills, which may sometimes aggravate the symptoms of depression. Talk with your health care provider to decide which contraception method is best for you.


Psychotherapy and Postpartum Depression

Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is commonly prescribed alone or with antidepressants to treat PPD. Your health care provider can refer you to a qualified mental health professional who specializes in treating postpartum depression. A therapist can give emotional support and help you understand your feelings and develop realistic goals, which are critical to overcoming postpartum depression.

Postpartum Depression Support Groups

Support groups may be very helpful if you are experiencing PPD. They may provide useful information and ideas about how to cope better with day-to-day stresses. 

Living With Postpartum Depression

While recovering from postpartum depression, try to take time for yourself. Get out of the house every day, even if it's just for a walk around the block. Reach out to supportive family and friends for both emotional and household help. Don't try to do everything yourself. Consider joining a new mothers support group or starting one in your area.

Exercise and Postpartum Depression

Exercise can help lift your spirits. Once you've recovered physically from giving birth, try to get some exercise every day. One study has shown that vigorous exercise after recovering from childbirth is associated with an increased feeling of well-being. Your health care provider can help you plan an exercise program that's right for you.


WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD, FACOG on March 17, 2014

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