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Many women have the baby blues after childbirth. If you have the baby blues, you may have mood swings, feel sad, anxious or overwhelmed, have crying spells, lose your appetite, or have trouble sleeping. The baby blues most often go away within a few days or a week. The symptoms are not severe and do not need treatment.
The symptoms of postpartum depression last longer and are more severe. You may also feel hopeless and worthless and lose interest in the baby. You may have thoughts of hurting yourself or the baby. Very rarely, new mothers develop something even more serious. They may have hallucinations or try to hurt themselves or the baby. They need to get treatment right away, often in the hospital.
Postpartum depression can begin anytime within the first year after childbirth. The cause is unknown. Hormonal and physical changes after birth and the stress of caring for a new baby may play a role. Women who have had depression are at higher risk.
If you think you have postpartum depression, tell your health care provider. Medicines, including antidepressants, and talk therapy can help you get well.
Dept. of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health
- Perinatal Depression (National Institute of Mental Health) Also in Spanish
- Postpartum Depression (Nemours Foundation)
- Postpartum Depression (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Postpartum Depression (Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health) Also in Spanish
Diagnosis and Tests
- Postpartum Depression Screening (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
Treatments and Therapies
- Antidepressants: MedlinePlus Health Topic (National Library of Medicine) Also in Spanish
- Depression Treatment (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Psychotherapies (National Institute of Mental Health)
- Baby Blues after Pregnancy (March of Dimes Foundation)
- Depression During and After Pregnancy: You Are Not Alone (American Academy of Pediatrics) Also in Spanish
- Tips for Postpartum Partners and Families (Postpartum Support International)
- Anxiety During Pregnancy and Postpartum (Postpartum Support International)
- Postpartum Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (Postpartum Support International)
- Postpartum Psychosis (Postpartum Support International)
Statistics and Research
- Postpartum Depression May Last for Years (National Institutes of Health) Also in Spanish
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Depression, Postpartum (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Association between maternal postpartum depressive symptoms, socioeconomic factors, and birth outcomes...
- Article: Effect of pre-administration of esketamine intraoperatively on postpartum depression after cesarean...
- Article: The effectiveness of an internet-based support program on maternal self-efficacy, postpartum...
- Postpartum Depression -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- FindTreatment.gov (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
- National Institute of Mental Health Also in Spanish
- Postpartum depression (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish