Postpartum Depression

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Postpartum Depression

Topic Overview

What is postpartum depression?

Postpartum depression is a serious illness that can occur in the first few months after childbirth. It also can happen after miscarriage and stillbirth.

Postpartum depression can make you feel very sad, hopeless, and worthless. You may have trouble caring for and bonding with your baby.

Postpartum depression is not the “baby blues,” which many women have in the first couple of weeks after childbirth. With the blues, you may have trouble sleeping and feel moody, teary, and overwhelmed. You may have these feelings along with being happy about your baby. But the “baby blues” usually go away within a couple of weeks. The symptoms of postpartum depression can last for months.

In rare cases, a woman may have a severe form of depression called postpartum psychosis. She may act strangely, see or hear things that aren't there, and be a danger to herself and her baby. This is an emergency, because it can quickly get worse and put her or others in danger.

It’s very important to get treatment for depression. The sooner you get treated, the sooner you'll feel better and enjoy your baby.

What causes postpartum depression?

Postpartum 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 stillbirth.

You have a greater chance of getting postpartum depression if:

  • You've had depression or postpartum depression before.
  • You have poor support from your partner, friends, or family.
  • You have a sick or colicky baby.
  • 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 manic-depression).

What are the symptoms?

A woman who has postpartum depression may:

  • Feel very sad, hopeless, and empty. Some women also may feel anxious.
  • Lose pleasure in everyday things.
  • Not feel hungry and may lose weight. (But some women feel more hungry and gain weight).
  • Have trouble sleeping.
  • 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 weeks.

If you think you might 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:

  • The national suicide hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). (Canada and U.S.)
  • The National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453). (Canada and U.S.)

How is postpartum depression diagnosed?

Your doctor will do a physical examination and ask about your symptoms.

Be sure to tell your doctor about any feelings of baby blues at your first checkup after the baby is born. Your doctor will want to follow up with you to see how you are feeling.

How is it treated?

Postpartum depression is treated with counselling and antidepressant medicines. Women with milder depression may be able to get better with counselling alone. But many women need counselling and medicine. Some antidepressants are thought to be safe for women who breast-feed.

To help yourself get better, make sure you eat well, get some exercise every day, and get as much sleep as possible. Seek support from family and friends if you can.

Try not to feel bad about yourself for having this illness. It doesn't mean you're a bad mother. Many women have postpartum depression. It may take time, but you can get better with treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Learning about postpartum depression:

Being diagnosed:

Getting treatment:

Ongoing concerns:

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Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.


Decision Points focus on key medical care decisions that are important to many health problems. Decision Points focus on key medical care decisions that are important to many health problems.
  Depression: Should I Take Antidepressants While I'm Pregnant?

Actionsets help people take an active role in managing a health condition. Actionsets are designed to help people take an active role in managing a health condition.
  Depression: Dealing With Medicine Side Effects
  Depression: Managing Postpartum Depression
  Depression: Taking Antidepressants Safely

Interactive tools help people determine health risks, ideal weight, target heart rate, and more. Interactive tools are designed to help people determine health risks, ideal weight, target heart rate, and more.
  Interactive Tool: Are You Depressed?

Cause

Postpartum depression (PPD) seems to be triggered by the sudden hormone changes that happen after childbirth. These hormonal changes most commonly lead to postpartum depression when paired with risk factors such as previous depression (including bipolar disorder), poor support from your partner, friends, and family, or a high level of stress.1

The hormone changes and grief following miscarriage and stillbirth also trigger PPD in many women.1

Symptoms

Postpartum blues. A certain amount of insomnia, irritability, tears, overwhelmed feelings, and mood swings are normal during the first days after childbirth. These "baby blues" usually peak around the fourth postpartum day and subside in less than 2 weeks, when hormonal changes have settled down. If you have postpartum blues after childbirth, you're not alone—more than half of women have temporary mild symptoms of depression mixed with feelings of happiness after having a baby.2

Be sure to report any feelings of postpartum blues to your doctor at your first postpartum checkup, so he or she can follow up with you.

Postpartum depression (PPD). Symptoms of postpartum depression can follow postpartum blues. They can feel like more of the same or can feel worse than before. Postpartum depression can also happen months after childbirth or pregnancy loss. In some cases, symptoms peak after slowly building for 3 or 4 months. Possible PPD symptoms require evaluation by a doctor.

If you have postpartum depression, you have had five or more depressive symptoms (including one of the first two listed below) for most of the past 2 weeks, including:1

  • Depressed mood—tearfulness, hopelessness, and feeling empty inside, with or without severe anxiety.
  • Loss of pleasure in either all or almost all of your daily activities.
  • Appetite and weight change—usually a drop in appetite and weight but sometimes the opposite.
  • Sleep problems—usually trouble with sleeping, even when your baby is sleeping.
  • Noticeable change in how you walk and talk—usually restlessness, but sometimes sluggishness.
  • Extreme fatigue or loss of energy.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, with no reasonable cause.
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions.
  • Thoughts about death or suicide. Some women with PPD have fleeting, frightening thoughts of harming their babies. These thoughts tend to be fearful thoughts, rather than urges to harm.

Early treatment of PPD is important for both you and your baby. If you think you may have postpartum depression, take a short quiz to check your symptoms:

Interactive Tool: Are You Depressed?

Postpartum psychosis. This severe condition is most likely to affect women with bipolar disorder or a history of postpartum psychosis. Symptoms, which usually develop during the first 3 postpartum weeks (as soon as 1 to 2 days after childbirth), include:1

  • Feeling removed from your baby, other people, and your surroundings (depersonalization).
  • Disturbed sleep, even when your baby is sleeping.
  • Extremely confused and disorganized thinking, increasing your risk of harming yourself, your baby, or another person.
  • Drastically changing moods and bizarre behaviour.
  • Extreme agitation or restlessness.
  • Unusual hallucinations, often involving sight, smell, hearing, or touch.
  • Delusional thinking that isn't based in reality.

Postpartum psychosis is considered an emergency requiring immediate medical treatment. If you have any psychotic symptoms, seek emergency help immediately. Until you tell your doctor and get treatment, you are at high risk of suddenly harming yourself or your baby.

What Happens

Postpartum blues and depression

Over half of all women have some mood-related symptoms during the first 2 weeks after childbirth. Most women with postpartum blues, or "baby blues," find that their mood swings, insomnia, overwhelmed feelings, and agitation go away within 2 weeks. But some women have longer-lasting postpartum depression (PPD) in the weeks to months after childbirth. The hormone changes and grief following miscarriage and stillbirth also trigger PPD in many women.1

Postpartum depression makes it hard for you to function well, including caring for and bonding with your baby. Babies of depressed mothers tend to be poorly attached to their mothers and to be slower in behaviour, language, and mental development.1

Prompt PPD treatment is important for both you and your baby. The earlier you are treated, the more quickly you will recover, the less your chances of repeat depression, and the less your baby's development will be affected by your condition.

Postpartum psychosis

In rare cases (up to 1 out of 500), dangerous postpartum psychosis symptoms—such as bizarre behaviour, sight-, smell-, hearing-, or touch-related hallucinations, feeling detached from others and reality, and urges to hurt oneself or others—can suddenly occur within the first 3 postpartum weeks, as soon as 1 to 2 days after childbirth.1 These symptoms tend to be more severe than those of psychosis unrelated to childbirth and can trigger life-threatening behaviours without warning. Postpartum psychosis is more likely to affect women who have bipolar disorder or have had postpartum psychosis before.1

Postpartum psychosis is considered an emergency requiring immediate medical treatment and follow-up care. Often, psychotic symptoms that have been successfully treated can still be followed by postpartum depression symptoms that require further treatment.

For more information about what increases your chances of having postpartum depression and psychosis and of having them after more than one pregnancy, see the What Increases Your Risk section of this topic.

What Increases Your Risk

Every woman is at risk for temporary "postpartum blues" during the first 2 weeks after childbirth, because of sudden hormone changes and the challenges of caring for a newborn. Women who have miscarried or had a stillbirth are also at risk.

But there are also known factors that increase your risk of having long-term depression after pregnancy. If you have had postpartum depression before, you are at high risk of having it again. Other risk factors include:1

  • Poor support from family, partner, and friends.
  • High life stress, such as a sick or colicky newborn, financial troubles, or family problems.
  • Physical limitations or problem symptoms after childbirth.
  • Depression during a current pregnancy.
  • Previous depression.
  • Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depression, which also increases the risk of dangerous psychotic behaviour after childbirth.
  • A family history of depression or bipolar disorder.
  • Previous premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), which is the severe type of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Postpartum psychosis

Risk factors for postpartum psychosis include:1

  • A personal or family history of bipolar disorder. Women with this risk factor are three times more likely to have postpartum psychosis symptoms than women with no bipolar history.3
  • Previous postpartum psychosis.

If you have had postpartum psychosis before, you are at high risk for having psychotic symptoms again in the future.3 Your doctor will want to watch you closely, particularly if you become pregnant again.

When To Call a Doctor

Call 911 or other emergency services if you think you cannot keep from harming yourself, your baby, or another person. You can also call the national suicide hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453). These hotlines are available in Canada and the U.S.

Call your doctor immediately if:

  • You are not having symptoms of postpartum depression (listed below), but you have hallucinations involving smell, touch, hearing, or sight or have thoughts that may not be based in reality (delusions). Examples of delusions are fears that someone is watching you, stealing from you, or reading your mind.
  • You have severe symptoms of postpartum depression.
  • You have any symptoms of depression and have had depression or postpartum depression before.
  • You have had any symptoms of depression for longer than 2 weeks. You don't necessarily have all possible symptoms when you have depression. Call sooner rather than later, before your condition gets worse.

Symptoms of postpartum depression include:

  • Depressed mood—tearfulness, hopelessness, and feeling empty inside, with or without severe anxiety.
  • Loss of pleasure in either all or almost all of your daily activities.
  • Appetite and weight change—usually a drop in appetite and weight, but sometimes the opposite.
  • Sleep problems—usually trouble with sleeping, even when your baby is sleeping.
  • Noticeable change in how you walk and talk—usually restlessness, but sometimes sluggishness.
  • Extreme fatigue or loss of energy.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, with no reasonable cause.
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions.
  • Thoughts about death or suicide. Some women with PPD have fleeting, frightening thoughts of harming their babies. These tend to be fearful thoughts, rather than urges to harm.

Watchful Waiting

If your symptoms are new and not severe, you can wait up to 2 weeks to see if they will go away. Otherwise, call your doctor as soon as you notice symptoms. The earlier you are treated, the more quickly you will recover and the less your baby's development will be affected by your condition.

Who To See

Your family doctor, general practitioner, or obstetrician may be the first doctor to note and diagnose PPD. This is one of many reasons why it's important to have a medical check 3 to 6 weeks after childbirth. Treatment for PPD ideally involves both medicine and some form of professional counselling. To effectively treat depression, it's important that you and your counsellor have a comfortable relationship.

Professional counselling can be provided by a:

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

Examinations and Tests

Postpartum depression is a medical condition that requires treatment, not a sign of weakness. It isn't always obvious to an observer, and there are no laboratory tests for depression. This is why it's important that you tell your doctor about your symptoms.

Your doctor will diagnose and recommend treatment for postpartum depression if you've had five or more of the following symptoms (including the first or second) for most of each day over the past 2 weeks:1

  • Depressed mood—tearfulness, hopelessness, and feeling empty inside, with or without severe anxiety
  • Loss of pleasure in either all or almost all of your daily activities
  • Appetite and weight change—usually a drop in appetite and weight, but sometimes the opposite
  • Sleep problems—usually trouble with sleeping, even when your baby is sleeping
  • Noticeable change in how you walk and talk—you may seem restless or move very slowly
  • Extreme fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, with no reasonable cause
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Thoughts about death or suicide

If you think you may have postpartum depression, take a short quiz to check your symptoms:

Interactive Tool: Are You Depressed?

Although the most disturbing symptoms can be the hardest to talk about, it's especially important to tell your doctor about any urges to harm yourself or your baby. If you have compelling thoughts about hurting yourself or others, you must tell your doctor immediately and get treatment.

In addition to screening you for depression, your doctor may also check your thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels to make sure a thyroid problem isn't contributing to your symptoms.

Early Detection

If you have had depression, postpartum depression, or postpartum psychosis before, are now pregnant and have depression, or have bipolar disorder, ask your doctor and family members to watch you closely. Some experts suggest that high-risk women have their first postnatal checkup 3 or 4 weeks after childbirth, rather than the usual 6 weeks.

Treatment Overview

Early treatment of postpartum depression (PPD) is important for you, your baby, and the rest of your family. The sooner you start, the more quickly you will recover, and the less your depression will affect your baby. Babies of depressed mothers can be less attached to their mothers and lag behind developmentally in behaviour and mental ability.1

Treatment choices for postpartum depression include:

  • Counselling for both you and your partner. Cognitive-behavioural therapy helps you take charge of the way you think and feel. Interpersonal counselling is also a good treatment choice for postpartum depression. (You may find a counsellor who offers both cognitive-behavioural therapy and interpersonal counselling.) Interpersonal counselling focuses on relationships and the personal changes that come with having a new baby. It gives you emotional support and helps with problem solving and goal setting. For your partner, counselling may help with the demands of having a new baby. It can also help your partner support you.
  • Antidepressant medicine, which effectively relieves symptoms of postpartum depression for most women. Breast-feeding is also important for your baby, so talk to your doctor and your baby's doctor about an antidepressant medicine you can use while breast-feeding. Certain selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants are considered relatively safe for use while you are breast-feeding.4

Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and decide on what type of treatment is right for you. Counselling and support are considered a first-line treatment for mild to severe PPD. Women with mild PPD are likely to benefit from counselling alone. Those with moderate to severe PPD are advised to combine counselling with antidepressant medicine.

You may also benefit from:

  • A part-time or full-time mother's helper.
  • Parent coaching or infant massage classes, for strengthening mother-baby attachment.

Your doctor may recommend a licensed counsellor who specializes in treating postpartum depression.

What To Think About

Can I take antidepressant medicine and breast-feed my baby?

Treating your depression is very important for your baby. Breast-feeding is good for your baby's health and your baby's bond with you, too. At best, you will be able to treat your depression and breast-feed your baby. But if you decide to choose between taking medicine and breast-feeding, treat your depression.

Talk to your doctor and your baby's doctor about your antidepressant choices. Any antidepressant can get into breast milk, but some antidepressants do so in such small amounts that they can't be measured in the baby's blood.

  • Of the SSRIs, sertraline (Zoloft) is usually the first-choice medicine for breast-feeding mothers. It is most studied and generally does not seem to affect breast-feeding babies.4
  • There have been reports of side effects in babies exposed to paroxetine (Paxil), fluoxetine (Prozac), and citalopram (Celexa).5, 6
  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox) has not been well studied.

Some SSRIs, such as fluoxetine, are passed on to the breast-fed baby more than others. And every woman uses (metabolizes) and passes on medicine in different amounts. The level of medicine in your breast milk depends in part on when you take your daily dose. Talk to your doctor about when the level of medicine in your breast milk is lowest.

Researchers are studying children who breast-fed while their mothers took SSRIs. So far, they have seen no signs of unusual problems in these children into their preschool years.3

How long do I need to take antidepressant medicine for postpartum depression?

Antidepressants are typically used for 6 months or longer, first to treat postpartum depression and then to prevent a relapse of symptoms. To prevent a relapse, your doctor may recommend that you take medicine for up to a year before considering tapering off of it. Women who have had several bouts of depression may need to take medicine for a long time.

Prevention

Although you can't prevent the postpartum hormone changes that cause postpartum blues, you can take steps to prevent ongoing postpartum depression (PPD). If you have a history of depression or postpartum depression, you and your doctor have some other prevention options.

Basic prevention measures for every woman

To minimize the effects of postpartum hormonal changes and stress, keep your body and mind strong.

  • Ask for help from others, so you can get as much sleep, healthy food, exercise, and overall support as possible.
  • Stay away from alcohol, caffeine, and other drugs or medicines unless recommended by your doctor.
  • Close monitoring after childbirth is important. If you are worried about developing PPD, have your first postnatal checkup 3 or 4 weeks after childbirth rather than the typical 6 weeks.

Prevention measures for high-risk women

If you have had depression or postpartum depression before, you and your doctor can plan ahead to reduce your higher risk of postpartum depression. Think about the following options if you have:

  • A history of depression. If you have no depressive symptoms late in a first pregnancy, watchful waiting is recommended. But if you have a history of severe depression, some experts recommend counselling and support before childbirth. You and your doctor may choose to start antidepressant medicine after the birth to prevent PPD, particularly if you have had PPD before.
    Click here to view a Decision Point. Depression: Should I Take Antidepressants While I'm Pregnant?
  • A history of PPD. After childbirth, don't wait till symptoms develop—start with counselling and support (some women start counselling a couple of months before childbirth). You and your doctor may choose a combination of counselling and an antidepressant.
  • Depression during pregnancy. If you are taking an antidepressant medicine during pregnancy, continue taking it into the postpartum period to reduce your high risk of postpartum depression.

Home Treatment

Postpartum depression is a medical condition, not a sign of weakness. Be honest with yourself and those who care about you. Tell them about your struggle. You, your doctor, and your friends and family can team up to treat your symptoms.

  • Schedule outings and visits with friends and family, and ask them to call you regularly. Isolation can make depression worse, especially when it's combined with the stress of caring for a newborn.
  • Eat a balanced diet. If you have little appetite, eat small snacks throughout the day. Nutritional supplement shakes are also useful for keeping up your energy.
  • Get regular daily exercise, such as outdoor stroller walks. Exercise helps improve mood.
  • Get as much sunlight as possible. Keep your shades and curtains open, and get outside as much as you can.
  • Ask for help with food preparation and other daily tasks. Family and friends are often happy to help a mother with newborn demands.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Avoid using alcohol or other substances to feel better (self-medicating). Talk to your doctor if you're having symptoms that need treatment.
  • Don't overdo it, and get as much rest and sleep as possible. Fatigue can increase depression.
  • Join a support group of new mothers. No one can better understand and support the challenges of caring for a new baby than other postpartum women. For more information on support groups, talk to your doctor or see the Web site of Postpartum Support International at www.postpartum.net.

For more information on how to cope with your symptoms, see:

Click here to view an Actionset. Depression: Managing Postpartum Depression.

The potential for domestic violence increases during a woman's pregnancy and when a couple is adjusting to a new baby. If your partner is violent or emotionally abusive, you and your baby are physically at risk, and you have an higher risk of postpartum depression. Now more than ever, it's crucial that you protect yourself and your baby—seek support and help. For more information, see the topic Domestic Violence.

Medications

Antidepressants are commonly used to treat postpartum depression (PPD), usually in combination with counselling and support.

  • For moderate to severe PPD, experts recommend an antidepressant combined with support and counselling.
  • Some experts recommend starting an antidepressant for prevention in women at high risk for PPD, but so far no studies have shown this to be effective.5

Breast-feeding is good for you and your baby, both physically and emotionally. For this reason, experts have studied which antidepressants seem safest for breast-feeding babies. So you need not stop breast-feeding while taking an antidepressant for postpartum depression.

Whether or not you are breast-feeding, your doctor is likely to recommend a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI).2 This class of medicine is effective for most women, with fewer side effects than tricyclics. Most tricyclic antidepressants can also be used with minimal risk while a woman is breast-feeding. But for the mother, side effects are sometimes a problem.

Your doctor may start you out with a low dose to help you adjust to the medicine.

Medication Choices

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are usually the first-choice medicine for treating postpartum depression. Most SSRIs are thought to be safe for use while a woman is breast-feeding, because in general SSRIs pass into the breast milk at low levels.

Tricyclics have not caused any known breast-feeding baby problems and are not passed on to a breast-feeding baby in measurable amounts (with the exception of doxepin [Sinequan], which is not considered safe while breast-feeding).5

You may start to feel better within 1 to 3 weeks of taking antidepressant medicine. But it can take as many as 6 to 8 weeks to see more improvement. If you have questions or concerns about your medicines, or if you do not notice any improvement by 3 weeks, talk to your doctor.

Click here to view an Actionset. Depression: Taking Antidepressants Safely
Click here to view an Actionset. Depression: Dealing With Medicine Side Effects

What To Think About

Antidepressants are typically used for at least 6 months, first to treat postpartum depression and then to prevent a relapse of symptoms. To prevent a relapse, your doctor may recommend that you take medicine for up to a year before thinking about discontinuing it. Women who have had several bouts of depression may need to take medicine for a long time.

Never suddenly stop taking an SSRI. An SSRI should be tapered off slowly and only under the supervision of a doctor. Abruptly stopping SSRI medicine can cause flu-like symptoms, headaches, nervousness, anxiety, or insomnia.

If you are breast-feeding and taking an antidepressant or any other medicine, let your baby's doctor know.

Taking an antidepressant you've taken before. After having your baby, talk to your doctor before taking any medicine, especially if you are breast-feeding. You may be more sensitive to medicine side effects during your postpartum period, and you may need a lower dose than before. Some medicines are considered safer than others for a woman who is breast-feeding.

Hormone therapy. Estrogen treatment for PPD has been studied on a limited basis.7 Estrogen therapy is unlikely to become a common treatment for PPD, because it increases the risk of blood clots (deep vein thrombosis) and of cancer in the uterine lining (endometrium).

Surgery

Postpartum depression does not require surgical treatment.

Other Treatment

Poor family and social support and high stress raise the risk of postpartum depression (PPD). For this reason, every woman with a new baby needs plenty of support from family and friends. Any special care you get will help you get through the challenges of the postpartum period.

More formal PPD treatment and prevention measures include cognitive-behavioural or interpersonal counselling. Light therapy has shown promise as a non-medication treatment of depression, but has not been studied for postpartum depression. Parent coaching and infant massage can further enrich your relationship with your baby.

In rare cases, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is used to treat severe forms of depression. Studies have shown that ECT is an effective short-term treatment for depression.8, 9

Other Treatment Choices

Counselling

Counselling helps prevent and treat depression during pregnancy and after childbirth. Experts recommend that both parents participate to improve treatment success.5 Cognitive-behavioural therapy and interpersonal counselling are used to treat PPD.

  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy helps you take charge of the way you think and feel.
  • Interpersonal counselling (focusing on your relationships and the personal adjustments of having a new baby) provides emotional support and help with problem solving and goal setting.

Alternative therapies

  • Light therapy can be used to treat depression, and it does not have severe side effects. Studies have shown that it improves depression during pregnancy, winter-related depression (seasonal affective disorder), and general depression.10 It has not yet been widely studied for postpartum depression. For light therapy, you sit in front of a high-intensity (2,500 to 10,000 lux) fluorescent lamp every morning, gradually building up to 1 to 2 hours a day.
  • Parent coaching offers both education and support for handling baby care and problems as well as for the personal and couple transition into parenthood.
  • Infant massage classes teach you skills for physically and emotionally bonding with your baby and give you a chance to spend time with other postpartum mothers.

What to Think About

Counselling and support are considered a first-line treatment for mild to severe PPD. Women with mild PPD are likely to benefit from counselling alone. Women with moderate to severe PPD are advised to combine counselling with antidepressant medicine.

Other Places To Get Help

Organizations

Canadian Mental Health Association
595 Montreal Road
Suite 303
Ottawa, ON  K1K 4L2
Phone: (613) 745-7750
Fax: (613) 745-5522
Email: info@cmha.ca
Web Address: www.cmha.ca
 

The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) promotes mental health and focuses on combatting mental health problems and emotional disorders. The organization offers workshops, pamphlets, newsletters, and other educational materials.


Canadian Paediatric Society
2305 Saint Laurent Blvd.
Ottawa, Ontario K1G 4J8
Canada
Phone: Phone: 613-526-9397
Fax: Fax: 613-526-3322
Email: info@cps.ca
Web Address: www.caringforkids.cps.ca
 

Caring for Kids is produced by the Canadian Paediatric Society, a national association that advocates for the health needs of children and youth


Child Abuse Prevention (BC)
Safe Kids British Columbia
Web Address: www.safekidsbc.ca/index.htm
 

This Web site provides information and resources for reporting and preventing child abuse in British Columbia and across Canada. It includes numerous links to educational material about recognizing, reporting, and preventing child abuse as well as Child Abuse Hotline information for areas throughout Canada.


Mood Disorders Society of Canada
3-304 Stone Road West
Suite 736
Guelph, ON  N1G 4W4
Phone: (519) 824-5565
Fax: (519) 824-9569
Email: info@mooddisorderscanada.ca
Web Address: www.mooddisorderscanada.ca

Postpartum Support International
927 North Kellogg Avenue
Santa Barbara, CA  93111
Phone: (805) 967-7636
Fax: (805) 967-0608
Email: PSIOffice@postpartum.net
Web Address: www.postpartum.net
 

Postpartum Support International offers information and support not only to women who are coping with postpartum depression and anxiety after childbirth but also to their families. The Web site also includes the Mills Depression and Anxiety Symptom-Feeling Checklist for evaluating your symptoms.


References

Citations

  1. O'Hara MW, Segre LS (2008). Psychologic disorders of pregnancy and the postpartum period. In RS Gibbs et al., eds., Danforth's Obstetrics and Gynecology, 10th ed., pp. 504–514. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
  2. Cunningham FG, et al. (2010). Psychiatric disorders section of neurological and psychiatric disorders. In Williams Obstetrics, 23rd ed., pp. 1175–1184. New York: McGraw-Hill.
  3. Yonkers KA (2009). Management of depression and psychoses during pregnancy and the puerperium. In RK Creasy et al., eds., Creasy and Resnik's Maternal Fetal Medicine, 6th ed., pp. 1113–1122. Philadelphia: Saunders.
  4. Whitby DH, Smith KM (2005). The use of tricyclic antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in women who are breastfeeding. Pharmacotherapy, 25(3): 411–425.
  5. Brockingham I (2004). Postpartum psychiatric disorders. Lancet, 363(9405): 303–310.
  6. Weissman AM, et al. (2004). Pooled analysis of antidepressant levels in lactating mothers, breast milk, and nursing infants. American Journal of Psychiatry, 161: 1066–1078.
  7. Craig M, Howard L (2009). Postnatal depression, search date May 2008. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.
  8. Barbui C, et al. (2007). Depression in adults (drug and other physical treatments), search date April 2006. Online version of Clinical Evidence: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.
  9. UK ECT Review Group (2003). Efficacy and safety of electroconvulsive therapy in depressive disorders: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet, 361(9360): 799–808.
  10. Golden RN, et al. (2005). The efficacy of light therapy in the treatment of mood disorders: A review and meta-analysis of the evidence. American Journal of Psychiatry, 162(4): 656–662.

Other Works Consulted

  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2008, reaffirmed 2009). Use of psychiatric medications during pregnancy and lactation. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 92. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 111(4): 1001–1020.
  • Sadock BJ, et al. (2007). Postpartum depression. In Kaplan and Sadock's Synopsis of Psychiatry, Behavioral Sciences/Clinical Psychiatry, 10th ed., pp. 859–869. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
Last Revised July 27, 2010

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.