What is Postpartum Depression?

When you are pregnant or have a baby, your hormones and mood can change without warning. Many women are sad, irritable, or tearful for a few days after giving birth. For some women, feelings of sadness, anger, or hopelessness don't go away. This is called postpartum depression. It's both common and treatable.

Self Evaluation

Am I depressed?

What Causes Postpartum Depression?

Changing hormones bring on postpartum depression, but you are more likely to experience it if you:

  • Have had depression or postpartum depression before
  • Don't have enough support from your partner, family, or friends
  • Have a lot of stress in your life
  • Have a sick or colicky baby

Getting Help for Postpartum Depression

Postpartum depression isn't a sign that you are a bad mother or that you don't love your baby. It's a medical condition that you should talk to your doctor honestly about. Most of the time, postpartum depression is treated with an antidepressant, therapy, or a combination of both.

Make sure you're also taking care of yourself at home:

  • Ask family and friends to come visit you
  • Get as much sunshine as you can
  • Eat small healthy snacks throughout the day
  • Get some exercise every day
  • Get as much rest as you can
  • Play upbeat music

Breastfeeding and Antidepressants

There are several antidepressants that are safe to take while breastfeeding. If you and your doctor decide that antidepressants are the best way to treat your postpartum depression, talk to your doctor about which one to take.

If you want to breastfeed, the best outcome will be to treat your depression and breastfeed your baby.

If you need to choose between taking medicine to treat your depression and breastfeeding, it's better for both you and your baby to take the medicine. Breastfeeding is not the only way to bond with your baby, feed your baby, and keep your baby healthy. 

Read more about postpartum depression